Contrary to what you may see in film or celebrity gossip news, divorce does not always involve a drawn-out, costly legal process with numerous trips to court. In real life, many couples are opting for a less stressful, more amicable proceeding through collaborative divorce. As the term indicates, cooperation is the strategy for ending your marriage and dealing with all of the key areas that you would address in a traditional divorce case. More couples are embracing the idea and, after reviewing key statistics from the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, you might, as well: Around 86% of all collaborative divorce cases end in full resolution of divorce issues without the need for a protracted court battle.
However, collaborative divorce is not the best fit for all couples and all possible scenarios. You can trust your Maryland divorce lawyer to guide you in making informed choices, but an overview of the process may be useful.
Overview of Collaborative Divorce
This approach to divorce eliminates the “win-lose” mentality that can lead to a chaotic process, turning it into one where the parties focus on problem-solving instead of personal victories. The proceedings do not take place in a courtroom. Rather through a series of meetings between the parties and their respective lawyers. You and your attorney will discuss objectives on the key areas of divorce, including:
- Property division and determination of marital versus separate assets;
- Alimony; and,
- Custody and visitation for minor children.
Then, both parties and their lawyers will convene together to determine what aspects of these areas can be resolved through collaboration. If you reach an agreement, the attorneys will enter the appropriate orders in court; essentially, the case is a simple, uncontested divorce. A collaborative process does not result in an agreement on all issues. But you can still work through outstanding disputes in court.
Questions to Ask Yourself About Collaborative Divorce
You will need to consult with your lawyer about your specific situation. This will determine whether this approach to divorce is a suitable fit. In the presence of domestic abuse or other misconduct, you will likely NOT be a good candidate for collaborative divorce. Still, you might gain some insight by asking yourself some questions:
- Are we both willing to participate in a meaningful way? Collaborative divorce does require effort, input, and preparation, so you will need to work to make the process successful.
- What are the key issues where disputes are likely to arise? Of the three divorce issues mentioned above, you should assess which could be the most challenging to resolve.
- Can I be objective about compromise? If you cannot step back from the “fight to win” attitude, the collaborative divorce process will likely not be successful.
Discuss Collaborative Options with a Baltimore County, MD Divorce Attorney
If you would like more information on collaborative divorce and an assessment on whether it is a good fit for your situation, please contact attorney William F. Mulroney to set up a consultation.