Separating divorce from the notions of courtroom disputes and drawn-out litigation is hard to do. As this depiction is really the only one that is written about or appears on television. Obviously, if a couple chooses to divorce, the relationship has not been in a good place for some time, but ending the marriage does not necessarily mean the dissolution must be full of conflict. Alternatives to traditional litigation in divorce do exist that allow the parties to end the marriage on a more amicable note. Couples in divorce may have an invested interest in keeping the process as civil as possible, especially if they hope to equally share childcare responsibilities or have business interests together. One type of alternative dispute resolution that is becoming more popular in recent years is collaborative divorce.
The Basics of Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce centers on the idea that the resolution of issues in divorce can be done in a productive and civil manner without the contentiousness of the courtroom. In addition to the parties, there is a team of professionals that assist the couple with finding solutions to their problems. This team consists of specially trained collaborative attorneys, mental health professionals and financial experts. They work with the couple to facilitate agreement on solutions that are best for the whole family, especially the children. Informal discussions, settlement conferences and mediation are some of the methods used during this process. The process begins when the couple signs the collaborative law participation agreement, which has the parties consent to forego filing a divorce petition in court, in favor of making a good faith effort to work out disagreements in a non-adversarial setting. Each party must be willing to voluntarily disclose relevant information, but any information exchanged or communicated during these sessions are confidential and cannot be later used at trial. Either party may terminate the collaborative process at any time and for any reason. Initiating court action automatically terminates the process, and the collaborative attorneys are not permitted to represent either party in the adversarial proceeding.
Collaborative Divorce May Not Be Necessary
Even though this process aims to completely neutralize and eliminate conflict and allows the parties to craft their own agreement outside of the courtroom, it is not always possible to come to an agreement nor may the process be in the best interest of the client. If you do not have issues that require mental health professionals or financial experts, etc., then it is not necessary to go through the collaborative divorce process. Even if you do have these issues, there are other means of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation. In traditional family law cases, you can still preserve a working relationship. come to an agreement and avoid a hearing before the judge. Furthermore, if you cannot come to an agreement, you will not have to begin the process again with another attorney as a collaborative law attorney must withdraw if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Talk to a Divorce Lawyer
If you are contemplating or facing divorce, speak to a divorce attorney about your options for resolving your case outside of court. While alternative dispute resolution options are not appropriate in every situation, it is worth exploring other methods that could better for your family. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A.in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
by Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+