An estimated one million couples divorce each year in the U.S., and not all of them are eager to “go to court” and “win.” Many of them welcome the prospect of talking things out and coming to an agreement without every word becoming public record and a judge potentially reaching a decision that neither spouse wants. For divorcing couples determined to be amicable and have more control over the outcome, collaborative divorce may be the answer.
The collaborative process is unique in that all parties must agree from the beginning to remove the threat of litigation from negotiations. In doing so, neither spouse can leverage the prospect of court against the other spouse in order to achieve their own personal goals. Couples must instead collaborate and work to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution in all aspects of their divorce, oftentimes with the guidance of neutral third-party experts in various fields such as financial experts to help divide property and child psychologists to assist with developing a parenting plan.
Additionally, unlike traditional divorce proceedings, collaborative divorce is a private process until the very end, when all agreements and associated paperwork are filed. You and your spouse don’t even have to agree on everything, but you must be willing to work toward a common goal of ending your marriage as positively as possible.
The short-term benefits of collaborative divorce include:
- Reduced conflict: The collaborative approach reduces contention by requiring you and your spouse to consider each other’s needs and those of your children, and use those insights to reach an equitable resolution. Children can be traumatized by open conflict between their parents, so minimizing hostility is an important part of helping your kids cope with the divorce. Involving a divorce coach in this process helps families improve their communication techniques that help with the divorce process, and beyond.
- Less expensive: Couples who undergo collaborative divorce usually spend half of what they would if the case went to trial. Because the process calls for complete financial disclosure, there is no need for attorneys to undertake an extensive discovery process to search for hidden property or assets.
- Faster results: Most collaborative divorce cases take significantly less time to complete compared to traditional divorce cases. In some counties, it may take more than a year before you have your first court date. The collaborative divorce process shortens the ordeal for you, your spouse, and your children.
By removing litigation from the picture, collaborative divorce also delivers long-term benefits such as:
- Custom solutions: By collaborating, you and your spouse can bring about terms that are both mutually beneficial and tailored to your long-term personal and financial needs. For example, your spouse may agree to pay more support than that which the state requires, or you may be able to craft more creative and unique terms that suit your unique lifestyle. In addition, families are able to create child custody schedules that are customized for their children’s needs, and their families schedules.
- Healthier post-divorce relationship: By working with your spouse instead of battling for your share of the divorce spoils, you improve the likelihood of a positive relationship after the divorce. Better ability to communicate also equals a more effective co-parenting relationship, which is highly beneficial for the children.
A divorce represents a new beginning for you and your former partner. When you work everything out beforehand and focus on what would make life better for everyone involved, the future is significantly brighter.
For more information on the collaborative divorce process in North Carolina, contact Easterling Law today.