Collaborative Divorce: What Is It and How Does It Work?

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Although television programming and public celebrity splits would lead us all to think that divorces are messy legal proceedings where an entire relationship, the good and the bad, get laid bare for anyone to see, this is usually not the reality for most divorces. Dissolving a relationship is never an easy thing to do and may cause some minor inconveniences, but that comes with almost any legal proceeding. In fact, many people may be surprised to learn that there is more than one way to go about obtaining a divorce. One of the more laid back and less dramatic ways to get a divorce is to obtain a collaborative divorce.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is a legally recognized divorce that gives a couple the freedom to work together to negotiate the terms of the divorce. A good family law attorney Utah can help a couple go over the negotiated terms of the breakup to make sure that it is legally sound before filing it with the courts. Sometimes a collaborative divorce will include a mediator that is a neutral party and separate divorce attorneys. Although the terms of the divorce are worked out between the couple, including spousal and child support, the handling of joint debt and property and child custody, lawyers are still present to make sure that their client doesn’t get the short end of the stick and to finalize the petition.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

Going the collaborative route is a fairly straightforward and simple process. Things will only get as complicated as the divorcing couple make it. In order for a collaborative divorce to work, both spouses must be willing to work together and come to an agreement. There is no such thing as a one-sided collaboration. Both parties hire an attorney and all parties involved are looking for a win-win resolution, where neither party feels uncomfortable with the settlement or that their needs weren’t met. In addition to attorneys, couples also bring in financial specialists, therapists and the like to help navigate some of the more touchy areas of divorcing. It’s important to note that it is the obligation of both parties to provide all of the necessary and up to date financial statements, assets and more to ensure that the proceeding is fair. Should either party decide to hide information, a divorce court may reopen your case and create a new settlement. Once everything is agreed upon, the attorneys will draft the settlement, everyone will sign and it will go to a judge to sign off on, finalizing the divorce.

Who Can Collaboratively Divorce?

Any married couple can do a collaborative divorce. It doesn’t matter if the couple is same sex or heterosexual. The couple being legally married is all that is needed. If both spouses are willing to negotiate maturely and can be trusted to be honest and fair, then a collaborative divorce will likely work out well. If either party is unwilling to put differences aside and openly and rationally discuss the parameters of breaking up, collaborative divorce is not going to be the best option.

Divorces can be messy. But when both spouses are committed to keeping things as neat and amicable as possible, a collaborative divorce looks a lot better than a traditional divorce. Depending on the terms that need to be negotiated, a collaborative divorce could also take less time. Keeping a judge out of your marriage and keeping your personal life private certainly does make this type of divorce more attractive.

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