Separating and starting a new life is a very emotional, difficult life-changing event. If you and your spouse are fortunate enough to be able to agree on many of the issues to start new lives, then collaborative divorce may be the best option for you. Why? Because a trained professional team helps the two of you work out an agreement both of you can live by, and at a fraction of the expense a long-drawn out legal battle in court would cost. Think of it this way: instead of putting down a $10,000-$20,000 retainer for a divorce lawyer, through collaborative divorce your fee may reach only in the neighborhood of $2500.
What is collaborative divorce? It is a team-based approach to divorce. A family professional will meet with you to define your common goals and interests. An accountant provides important information on the division of property. And each spouse has an attorney present who can help advocate for your concerns in a nonadversarial manner. The goal? To peaceably and as amicably as possible, reach an agreement on custody, visitation, child support, and asset distribution that does not harm either spouse, but that equitably and fairly reaches a consensus both can live by. Without tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, without thousands of dollars for expert testimony, and without a lengthy, stressful battle in family and supreme courts where a judge might be the final arbiter of your life fortunes.
Heres how it works: the Family Professional will meet with you first to determine whether the you and your spouse can work together. Ground rules are established. Attorneys and the accountant appear at the next meeting, and the discussion begins. The meetings are conducted in a friendly, diplomatic atmosphere where issues are raised and resolution proposed. As little as two meetings made be needed (up to three hours in length each) or up to eight meetings. There is no person assigned to represent the child(ren). However, if either spouse decide the child(ren) is/are having a tough time dealing with the divorce, a child specialist with a mental health background can be called in to participate. No, neither spouse gets all of what she or he wants, but each gets what they need.
Cases which involve domestic violence may not work under this collaborative-based model. However, there are exceptions: where there is a history of domestic violence and there is a power imbalance between the spouses, and the spouses are serious about working through the collaborative approach, a second family professional may be brought in to rectify any power imbalance.
Remember, there are a lot more expenses involved in a litigation-based model of divorce. So, call to discuss your collaborative divorce today: 893-0346