How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?
The prospect of divorce fills many people with anxiety, even when they know that a divorce is 100% what they want. This is because the popular view of divorce is one that is filled with contention and animosity. Every day we hear stories about divorces that drag on for years or situations where the couple fights tooth and nail over everything. Deciding to divorce is hard enough, but it can be overwhelming and scary when you think this is the only option.
However, not every divorce is filled with animosity, and not every divorce involves intense fighting for months on end. There is another option: collaborative divorce.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a divorce methodology that focuses on working together with your spouse (with the help and guidance of your attorneys) to resolve your divorce with as little friction as possible. Following the collaborative law method, you and your spouse may also utilize the advice of related professionals when reaching a settlement, such as financial advisers, child psychologists, and more.
When going through a collaborative divorce, the couple still must come to agreements regarding:
- Alimony or spousal support
- Child custody
- Child support
- Property division
- Debt division
Differences Between Collaborative and Traditional Divorce Methods
One of the major differences between a collaborative divorce and a traditional divorce is that couples who go the collaborative route typically must sign a contract at the start of the process. In this contract, they agree to be transparent throughout the divorce process, attesting to their commitment to the collaborative process. They must then adhere to this collaborative divorce agreement throughout their divorce case.
With a collaborative divorce, both parties are committed to avoiding litigation. Central to this is their dedication to working out their divorce settlement without intervention from the courts. When a divorce case has to go to court, the couple loses the ability to make their own decisions, and the court will settle the contested matters for them. The collaborative method is attractive to many divorcing parties as it allows them to retain the most control over their settlement.
Mediation Is Not the Same as a Collaborative Divorce
While mediation is a method that may be used in a collaborative divorce, it is not the same thing as a collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is a methodology that informs your entire divorce process, whereas mediation is only one tool. Furthermore, while mediation does provide space for a couple to work through their divorce issues with the help of a professional mediator, mediation does not typically involve the use of other related professionals, like financial planners, medical professionals, and therapists.
When Collaborative Divorce Fails
Is collaborative divorce ever a bad idea? The answer is yes, sometimes. While there are many benefits to taking the collaborative law approach, it does not work for all families. In cases where you and your former partner struggle to communicate or in cases where there are instances of domestic violence, attempting a collaborative divorce is likely to be counterproductive, if not impossible.
Can You Get a Collaborative Divorce in Florida?
Yes, you can get a collaborative divorce in Florida. In fact, collaborative divorce is gaining in popularity as more and more people see the benefits of the methodology. As mentioned above, collaborative divorce methods are more involved than simple mediation or traditional divorce. Therefore, it is important that you work with a law firm and attorneys familiar and experienced in collaborative law.
If you think that collaborative divorce is right for you, reach out to Beaulieu-Fawcett | Newell Law Group, P.A. for guidance.