The vast majority of cases settle out of court, and family law cases are no exception. Reaching a settlement agreement on your divorce matter can save you and your spouse money, time, and frustration. One tool used to help parties reach a settlement is called collaborative divorce.
Collaborative divorce is a new approach to litigation. The idea behind collaborative divorce is that the spouses and a team of attorneys and other experts will work together to reach an agreement on all of the issues in the divorce. Collaborative divorce is a change from traditional litigation or even mediation, as it is designed to be non-adversarial. In collaborative divorce, each spouse will have an attorney. There are other professionals who are also typically involved. These professionals may be financial experts, child counselors, or any other professionals with information or expertise that will assist the attorneys and spouses to identify issues and come to a mutually beneficial settlement. Accordingly, when deciding if collaborative divorce is right for you, you will need to consider how willing you and your spouse are to work together. A strong adversarial mindset is not going to help reach an agreement, even in a collaborative setting. If there is a high degree of animosity between you, then collaborative divorce may not be the right fit.
At the beginning of any collaborative divorce settlement, the spouses and attorneys will sign an agreement. This agreement states that the spouses and attorneys agree to work together and settle all the issues. If the collaborative divorce effort fails and the spouses cannot reach a settlement, the agreement also states the attorneys will withdraw from representing their respective clients to proceed in a traditional litigation setting with new attorneys. In deciding if collaborative divorce is right in your case, you should consider your relationship with your attorney. If you are unwilling to find another attorney in the event that collaborative divorce fails, the process may not be the right fit.
Finally, the cost of collaborative divorce should be considered. Reaching a settlement will almost always be less expensive than traditional litigation. However, it should be noted that many collaborative sessions employ the services of experts. Discuss with your attorney whether the expense of collaborative divorce is an appropriate expenditure for you, or if other settlement options should be explored.
If you have questions about collaborative law and if it is right for your case, contact us today at (732) 529-6937. We can talk about settlement options for your divorce and which is right for you.