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What is Collaborative Divorce?

What is Collaborative Divorce?

If you are looking to avoid the contention, hostility, and high costs associated with the typical divorce process, you and your spouse might consider the benefits of a collaborative divorce. Instead of going through the court and presenting your situation to a judge, you could work through the details of your divorce together. This process isn’t for everyone, in fact, couples who aren’t able or willing to see eye to eye would probably be better off going to court. However, if both you and your spouse can focus on working together in order to reach a divorce agreement that benefits both of you, this might be your best option.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

The central goal of a collaborative divorce is to encourage spouses to work together to find divorce solutions that work best for them. Instead of fighting against one another for the upper hand, spouses are encouraged to treat one another with respect and civility. Like any other divorce, the negotiations will incorporate property division, child custody, spousal support, and other key elements of a dissolution of marriage. While some disagreements will likely come up, focusing on working together is crucial for a collaborative divorce to work.

Each party must agree to disclose all relevant financial information, including any documents about properties or assets. Each spouse typically hires their own divorce attorney to represent their interests and help guide them through the divorce process, though some couples choose not to. While couples can go through with a collaborative divorce on their own, one of the more common approaches includes the help of a mediator.

What is Mediation?

A mediator is an unbiased third-party who helps with negotiations during a collaborative divorce or another family law issue. Unlike a judge, the mediator will not tell you what to do, but will instead offer potential negotiation strategies and solutions to help both parties reach an agreement. The mediator does not pick sides and is often much more affordable than it would be to go to court.

The Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce can be extremely beneficial for those willing to compromise. Because there is no need for court interference, the collaborative divorce process is usually drastically shorter than a divorce through litigation, and therefore less expensive. It is also a more private process, which can be especially beneficial for public figures or individuals who own their own business. Also, mediation allows the divorcing couple to retain control. If either spouse does not like a proposed resolution, they don’t need to accept it. Instead, they can continue negotiating until they reach a compromise that everyone agrees to.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of this process is the minimal emotional impact. Litigation can be extremely stressful and often pits spouses against one another, ruining any sort of friendship or civility they might have shared. This can then affect the way they parent, trickling down to harm their children. However, because the collaborative divorce process encourages spouses to work together and remain civil, they have a better chance of coming out of their divorce on good terms. When parents work together, this, in turn, makes the divorce process much less painful for their children and can make it easier for the kids to accept this new change.

Is Collaborative Divorce Right For You?

Even though there are many benefits to choosing a collaborative divorce, this process is not for everyone. Mediation can help you work through minor disagreements, but if you and your spouse have very different ideas about child custody, property division, or spousal support, you might be better off going to court. In court, a judge can make these decisions for you. If your relationship with your spouse is particularly contentious or hostile, mediation might also be an impossible option for your situation.

If you are considering collaborative divorce but aren’t sure if it’s the right choice for you, make sure you discuss your options with an experienced divorce attorney.

Contact Eiges & Orgel, PLLC to speak with our NYC divorce attorneys about your case.

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