Like other methods of alternative dispute resolution, the parties in a collaborative divorce work toward an equitable agreement outside of court. A distinguishing feature of the collaborative divorce process is the agreement to collaborate, also called a participation agreement.
Collaborative Law involves both parties meeting along with their attorneys. A party will also be able to meet with their collaborative law attorney separately to discuss a collaborative strategy prior to these sessions.
Collaborative Law fosters the open sharing of information and documentation during collaborative sessions.
There are many benefits of the collaborative divorce process
- Lay groundwork for future cooperation between the parties
- Couples that have negotiated their settlement tend to comply with the agreement and be happier with it long term
- Greater control over the outcome, and reduced uncertainty of judge’s decision
- Can develop unique solutions that fit both parties
- Avoid adversarial and emotionally difficult litigation in court
- Confidentiality: details of negotiations are not public record, as opposed to most court hearings and trials
- Takes place in an informal setting, which is more comfortable than a courthouse for most people
- Usually a shorter and more cost-effective process than litigation
- Control the pace of negotiations, since there is no need to wait months between court dates because of a jurisdiction’s overloaded calendar
- Have your attorney by your side to help during negotiations
If either party decides to terminate the collaborative process and litigate instead, the participation agreement requires each side to hire a new attorney going forward. This requirement to start over with a new attorney provides the spouses with incentive to work through disagreements that arise. Usually the agreement will also specify that before a party can terminate the collaborative process, the parties must try to mediate first.
Consult an Experienced Divorce Attorney in California About Your Options
Is collaborative divorce right for you? Contact experienced Fresno, CA divorce attorney Rebecca Medina at (559) 785-3295 for guidance regarding your unique situation.