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Approaching a Collaborative Divorce

While divorce is always tough, choosing to negotiate with your former partner using a collaborative process can reduce stress and expenses, while also saving time. During the collaborative divorce process, the spouses negotiate an acceptable agreement with the help of a professional mediator or arbiter. Each spouse hires an attorney to advise and assist in the negotiation process.

Collaborative divorce has many advantages beyond saving time and money. The negotiation process allows both spouses to voluntarily exchange all necessary information, stabilize the situation using a temporary agreement, agree on all legal procedures and discuss how to handle important post-divorce decisions related to child custody and support, alimony, and property division.

The spouses must enter into the collaborative divorce process voluntarily. Once this agreement has been established, the spouses should consult their attorneys and meet with them separately before the first joint meeting. A collaborative divorce sometimes involves other professionals, such as a child custody specialist or accountant. Usually, both spouses and their attorneys sign a “no court” agreement, which states that if the negotiation process is unsuccessful, the attorneys are to withdraw from the case and it goes to court.

At the first joint meeting, a collaborative participation agreement should be signed identifying the negotiation’s primary goals, concerns and next steps. Eventually, contact with a family or domestic relations court must be made for the divorce to be finalized. However, in a successful collaborative divorce situation, this procedure is brief.

If you are preparing to go through a divorce and are considering using a collaborative process, speak with a Charlottesville attorney to learn more.

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