What is Collaborative Divorce and is it for You?
Divorce does not have to be ugly or contentious. If you want to keep your divorce out of the courtroom, going through the collaborative divorce process might work for you. Collaborative divorce can not only help a couple stay out of court but can allow them to stay in control of the issues throughout the divorce process; you hold the reins.
Started by a family law attorney in Minnesota more than 30 years ago, collaborative divorce is for a couple who wants to reach the best result for the family, even if that family may no longer be living together. This couple wants to work through their differences in a manner that benefits everyone in the process. The fundamental characteristic of collaborative divorce is that the parties agree at the beginning not to go to court.
Here’s how collaborative divorce works:
With your respective family law attorneys guiding you through the legal divorce issues, neutral experts come together to advise and work through several key issues, including child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, retirement, and property distribution.
These professional experts include divorce coaches, child specialists and financial advisers; they make up your collaborative divorce team. While each adds an expense to the process, the process can ultimately reduce the cost of divorce by promoting cooperation and the support of experts for guidance.
The financial advisers work through asset/debt division, spousal support and any other financial or property related issues.
Mental health professionals, serving as coaches, ensure that emotions are kept on an even keel and that everyone comes out of the process healthy. Communication, of course, is always key. A coach or a child specialist can help develop a co-parenting plan, work out child support issues and make sure that the children are kept a priority.
After an agreement has been ironed out and reached, it is submitted to the court for the divorce finalization. Often, the parties never even have to go to the courthouse.
Family law attorney Andrew T. Richmond of Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC is educated and licensed to help clients through the collaborative divorce process. MR&T Law’s team of support professionals work with family law issues every day, it’s our chosen area of the law.
For more information on collaborative law, visit the Collaborative Divorce Center of Coastal Virginia.