If you are getting a divorce but do not want to engage in high conflict with your spouse, a collaborative process could work well for you. Many people do not want to endure an aggressive situation and would prefer to work together to settle issues around property and children. Our team of Short Hills collaborative divorce lawyers could work with you to make your divorce less stressful and even an amicable process.
Collaborative divorce works best for couples who can communicate without anger and want to keep the family’s best interests at the forefront. Imagine a divorce process that involves more healing than fighting. Our attorneys could approach a divorce with both knowledge and compassion to achieve a favorable outcome on both sides.
There are three pathways to a final judgment of divorce: litigation, mediation, or an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process like collaborative divorce. Litigation is generally adversarial, with each party’s legal advisor protecting that client’s interest.
Mediation involves a neutral third party to help negotiate a settlement. The mediator does not advocate for either party. Parties are able to walk out of mediation and continue to litigate the divorce with their attorneys if they want to.
Collaborative divorce is a team-based approach to a final settlement. Each spouse has a collaborative divorce lawyer, and all four parties sign an agreement to avoid litigation. If they cannot reach a solution and move the process to court, the lawyers withdraw and will not represent their clients in court. The process involves a series of four-way meetings with spouses and attorneys. The team agrees on whether they need expert help, like accountants or mental health professionals, and consult these professionals together.
Collaborative attorneys advocate for their clients but all within the purview of cooperation, not conflict. Everyone brings full and fair disclosure of all assets and debts to the table. When there are children, the spouses can co-create a parenting plan for custody and visitation. A Short Hills collaborative legal professional with experience in helping clients build solutions around property distribution, alimony, and child custody, support, and visitation could help.
After reaching an agreement, the parties sign a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) incorporating the terms of their collaborative work. They can then proceed to file a complaint for a “no-fault” divorce and attach the settlement agreement to the court documents. A Short Hills court sees the resolution of all issues and can grant the judgment with the agreed-upon terms, which become part of the final judgment of divorce.
Collaborative divorce is decidedly less stressful than adversarial litigation and provides more information and insight than mediation, as Short Hills legal representatives work together to craft solutions. The process is often less expensive than traditional routes to divorce, and legalities can proceed as quickly as the parties want.
Courts govern litigated divorces, and parties usually must follow strict timelines and judicial calendars. There is considerably more flexibility in the collaborative process.
Perhaps most importantly, when parties collaborate to solve problems, compliance with the agreement over the long-term increases. When a court imposes solutions or dictates terms, spouses may feel oppressed or betrayed. In the collaborative process, spouses can negotiate everything together with legal help, and thus feel more empowered and invested in the outcome of the agreement.
A Short Hills collaborative divorce legal representative can even help guide terms around post-divorce problems that might arise. For example, the collaborative divorce team can put a plan in place for spouses to use if they hit bumps in the road after finalizing the divorce. Normally, parties must go back to court to modify agreements, but collaborative divorce allows the parties to create solutions for the future.
Divorce under any circumstance is difficult but imagine a process where you participate and feel empowered in creating solutions. Within a collaborative process, you can move forward rather than stay embedded in conflict or resentment.
Our Short Hills collaborative divorce lawyers have the skill to advocate cooperation. We can help make a challenging journey a healing event, transitioning you into a new life.