Divorce doesn’t have to be a vicious war where the battlefield is a courtroom. Instead, it can be a negotiated settlement conducted in an informal, more relaxed setting. In this scenario, reaching goals is more important than assigning blame and both the financial and emotional costs are much lower.
Collaborative divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that differs from mediated divorce in several ways. In mediation, a neutral party (the mediator) acts as a facilitator who guides you and your spouse through all the issues until you reach an agreement. In collaborative divorce, you and your spouse each have a legal representative (collaborative divorce lawyers), one financial neutral, and one divorce coach who acts as a resource and advocate for you while respecting the collaborative process.
When you choose collaborative divorce, you have a way to end your marriage with dignity and honesty through open communication. It helps you feel supported and more at ease with the decisions you make and the outcome to which you and your spouse ultimately agree.
Here is what you can expect as you go through the collaborative divorce process:
You work with a team
Because divorce involves financial, personal and family matters, a team is assembled to help you and your spouse reach a fair, equitable and mutually satisfactory agreement on all issues. Team members include the following:
- Your attorney advises you on legal issues, giving you the information and guidance you need and making sure that communication between you and your spouse is peaceful and civil.
- Financial experts are neutral parties who help you with decisions regarding budgets, investments and other economic matters.
- Realtors and mortgage brokers provide information and advice regarding the sale or purchase of your home and how to qualify for a new mortgage.
- Divorce coaches are an important part of the team, especially where children are concerned. They assist you in understanding how divorce affects your children and can also help you set up a realistic and reasonable parenting plan and schedule.
It is a goal-oriented process
In a collaborative divorce, the focus is on the future. Rather than looking back and finding fault, you will be looking forward and finding ways to resolve issues in an effective, reasonable and equitable manner. Goals generally include:
- Putting your children’s well-being and best interests first
- Preserving important family ties
- Dividing property fairly
- Creating and maintaining respectful and open communication
It is non-adversarial and helps improve relationships
By avoiding the zero-sum game that is part of a contested, litigated divorce, couples are able to find common ground regarding the things that matter most: their children and their own integrity. Your marital relationship is changing, but your relationship with your children and other family members—even friends and coworkers and your ex—will be better after a constructive, rather than a contentious, collaborative divorce process.
Learn about the collaborative divorce process in California
Schedule an appointment with Fresno divorce attorney Rebecca Medina to learn more about your divorce options and strategies. Contact the Law Offices of Rebecca Medina or call us at (559) 324-5427 today.