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Collaborative Divorce: Working Together On Your Separation

On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law posted in divorce on Friday, March 17, 2017.

If your only notion of what happens during a divorce is based on what you’ve seen on television dramas, you likely don’t know about a new approach to divorce that’s gaining in popularity. You won’t see it on any soap opera, because its whole purpose is to remove the drama from divorce.

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a relatively new approach to settling matters of family law. Parties can choose to settle a dispute via non-combative channels outside a courtroom. A popular option is the collaborative law process, or collaborative divorce, and it’s available to men and women here in Kentucky.

A brief explanation of collaborative law

Collaborative law originated as a concept in the 1990s. The idea was to try a new approach to divorce, one that focused on civility with an aim toward fairer settlements and solid agreements. The practice has gained wide acceptance, and has spilled over into other arenas, including employment and business negotiations.

A collaborative divorce must begin with the premise that both parties are willing to work harmoniously to settle their issues preceding a divorce or separation. Issues that can be resolved may include:

  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Visitation/access agreements
  • Division of marital assets

How does it work, and why might I choose it?

Both spouses and their attorneys meet in a neutral setting to discuss the matters at hand. It is supposed to be an open and honest discussion, with a mutual goal of a positive resolution. Unlike during a mediation session, no third-party is present, and the two parties are encouraged to communicate directly with one another. The intended end result is a mutually satisfactory and legally binding agreement.

A collaborative divorce has many benefits. Couples with children may find there is less or even no fighting over or around the children, which is certainly in the children’s best interest. Couples and their families may feel less stress during the process, as well.

Saving time and money are also major advantages of a collaborative divorce. Time spent in a courtroom can be expensive, and the longer the process drags on, the more it costs. A protracted divorce can also interfere with personal schedules, including missing time from work.

Choosing your legal partner for divorce

Not every divorce can be handled through collaborative law. Badly damaged relationships or abusive marriages are likely not suitable to a cooperative approach. For those who can, however, there is the opportunity to experience divorce with a minimum of drama.

To assess whether a collaborative divorce is for you, consider speaking with a lawyer who is very familiar with both family law and the collaborative approach. With an experienced lawyer by your side, you can enter into this process with the assurance of reliable representation at all times.

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