Settle Out of Court – “Collaborative Law”

What is collaborative law? Essentially, it is parties working toward a resolution without court intervention. It can be informally done by:

  • Working out the nuts and bolts of agreement with your spouse (one or both parties hiring attorneys to coach them and/or draft paperwork for court).
  • Parties working with a mediator to resolve issues and/or hiring a lawyer who negotiates a settlement with your spouse (one or both parties hiring attorneys to coach them and draft paperwork for court).
  • One or both parties hiring attorneys to negotiate settlement with other party or their legal counsel.

Divorce is a time of changing financial arrangements and parenting responsibilities between spouses. Divorce does not have to be a series of disputes and battles over children and money. Creative and flexible solutions are required to meet the new needs of all family members.

Collaborative Divorce is an approach to divorce that offers couples an opportunity to finalize their divorce with a minimum of bitterness and animosity. Instead of going in front of a judge, the two parties and their attorneys sit down together to work out the details of the dissolution of their marriage. Sometimes this also involves the help of mental health professionals and financial advisors. Each party has a lawyer to assist them.

The team works collaboratively so that divorcing spouses can reach agreement about the following:

  • Division of property
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Children’s living arrangement

Collaborative Divorce focuses on all involved parties reaching a mutually agreed upon settlement of their disputes. The process results in valuable benefits creating a cooperative environment where communication remains open. Schoonover, Rosenthal Thurman & Daray can assist you in the process.

It provides a setting where you can work with your spouse to meet your child(ren)’s needs—regardless of their ages. That helps set a tone for open communication and reduced conflict in the future. It establishes a team, instead of starting a fight. Your lawyer advises and supports you; your spouse’s lawyer advises and supports your spouse. Your divorce coach, financial specialist, and/or child specialist work with you and your lawyers. By all working together you retain control of the process. The point is to get to a workable agreement for all parties and their family.

In matters requiring expert opinions, both parties can jointly hire one independent consultant. That helps shorten the duration of the case and reduce the overall expense. With the help of lawyers, you and your spouse shape the agreements together, which means you both are more likely to stick to the agreement. That diminishes the parental conflict the court system generates and helps protect children from facing the anguish and divided loyalties that result, both during and after the divorce. When an agreement is reached, the attorneys draft a formal binding contract. The divorce can then proceed quickly through the courts within 30 – 40 days.

Some of the benefits to divorce collaboration are that it:

  • Provides a forum for the couple to resolve the parenting and financial issues.
  • Enables divorcing spouses to retain control over the negotiation process.
  • Helps resolve the issues more quickly than court action.
  • Helps couples negotiate the agreement that will best serve all family members.
  • Gives you more privacy.

Post-divorce litigation is less likely when the couple has formulated its own solution. Mediation is a tool available to help facilitate an agreement and for any post divorce disputes to meet the changing needs of the family members. Mediation is valuable in post-divorce conflicts such as modification of custody, visitation, spousal support and child support.

Questions about trying to settle your divorce “out of court”?
Our attorneys can help you through the process, contact us today for more info.