Have you been considering divorce and afraid how it can affect your children and finances? You may have been considering a more customized and respectful alternative to traditional adversarial divorce – which is collaborative divorce.
Well, there is no denying that collaborative divorce is a great option for the spouses contemplating divorce. But, just because it is better doesn’t necessarily mean it would work for you. Collaborative divorce is a settlement-focused and interest-based divorce option that requires you to address your own emotional and financial issues and later come to a settlement that satisfies both parties. Each party can hire their separate attorneys and other professionals such as therapists, financial advisors, etc. to facilitate the proceedings of divorce more smoothly.
However, with all of that said and done, you still need to make sure whether the collaborative divorce is the right choice for you or not. If, in any case, any of the parties contest the final settlement and don’t agree to the final outcome, the case must go to the courtroom and all of your money will go to a complete waste.
Therefore, here are some points that will help you determine if collaborative divorce is right for you or not:
1. You Share A Respectful Communication
The first requirement of a collaborative divorce is that the spouses must be able to communicate respectfully with each other. You can never reach a fair settlement through collaborative divorce if you are divorcing a narcissist. Each spouse is supposed to listen and heard. Both the spouses will present different goals and expectations at the table. You should be able to talk it through and come to a settlement that’s fair to both. Conflicts are always going to be there, but both parties must be willing to resolve them through mutual understanding.
2. Disclosure Of Assets
If you think your spouse can be hiding their assets and income, step back – because collaborative divorce requires a full disclosure of assets if you expect a reasonable and fair outcome. Being informed about your spouse’s finances and assets is within your legal rights and obligations. And therefore, both parties must exchange their relevant financial information. Further settlement options are generated based on that. The provided financial information is kept confidential even after the case ends. Some specific financial documents may be revealed which will be mentioned in the agreement.
3. Participation Agreement
Each of the spouses and their entire team of professionals must sign an agreement before you start the collaborative divorce process. Your attorneys can help you prepare the agreement where you agree to work with your best interest to resolve all your conflicts without going to the court. At the same time, if the process is not working out for any reasons, any of the parties can voluntarily take an exit from the case and proceed in the court. The agreement also requires you to sign that all the information shared will remain confidential between the signees.
4. The Parties Should Have Equal Dominance
If one of the spouses involved in the divorce is dominating and the other is submissive, the outcome may be very unfair. There are very high chances that the final settlement will be one-sided. Therefore, the role of an attorney is very important here. Nevertheless, you should also use your best judgement to help decide if the final settlement is fair to you and your spouse as well.
5. Uncontestable Divorce
Altogether, both parties must be able to keep things more agreeable and less stressful because that’s the key reason why people choose collaborative divorce above all. If you try to contest the arguments or demands of another party, the divorce won’t come to a conclusion. So, whatever the issues are, you must be able to resolve them without contesting. There are going to be legit differences of opinions on things like business valuation and asset division – you must be able to work it out.
6. Have Children Involved
Collaborative divorce has the potential to work in children’s best interest. Your attorneys, child specialists, therapists, and financial planners can team up together to identify and fulfil the unique needs of the family undergoing divorce. You can make the most out of a unique combination of advocacy (since both parties have their unique advocates), mediation, and mental health specialist to make well-coordinated decisions that will be helpful in maintaining a good family environment (especially for the children) post separation or divorce. In case you’re fighting over the full-custody of your children, you should move your case to the court.
Just keep in mind that a divorce changes a child’s family forever. It permanently changes the structure of a family for a child. Therefore, it is important for you that you maintain good parenting throughout no matter whether you’re doing it collaboratively or by traditional approach. As far as your children are involved, make them your priority and take decisions according to that.
Ed is a legal writer with expertise in the divorce domain. He thoroughly researches and clearly communicates tough concepts. He has over six years of writing experience and a background in law.