No where is it written that a divorce has to be contentious or bitter or a long, drawn-out process.
And yet, our Brooklyn family law attorneys know that is the view that many have of it. That viewpoint stems from the fact that in a traditional divorce, your case goes through the courts. Litigation by its very nature is adversarial, pitting one side against another and often escalating disputes that might have otherwise been fairly easily resolved.
Uncontested divorces tend to move the fastest through the system because both parties have agreed to the most or all of the terms before the paperwork is ever filed.
That's not the only option. Collaborative divorce may be something you want to explore.
We recognize that there may be a few sticking points even in friendly splits. It may not be enough to drive you to duke it out for years in court, but you'd like to have it resolved before walking away nonetheless.
For example, let's say you are parents and the issue is a certain holiday. One side of the family tends to have a rather large annual celebration, while the other's traditions are a little less concrete. The former feels like that should be "his" holiday with the children. The other is reluctant to give it up entirely.
Going a more traditional route can mean this single issue could take months to resolve. You could go the mediation route, but then neither of you have the benefit of your own legal representation to ensure your interests are protected. This is where a collaborative divorce might come into play.
It's a dispute resolution process through which both parties and their lawyers agree to commit themselves to resolving differences fairly, respectfully and without the threat of going to court. This is an especially attractive option for parents because of how contentious the court process can be. These are individuals who know they are going to have to be partners in parenting for many years to come. They don't want to lay the foundation for a pattern of ill-will and poor communication that will ultimately negatively affect their children. They see the value in learning to work together at the outset of this newly-single chapter of their lives.
The collaborative process requires both parties to reveal all relevant information both transparently and voluntarily. Both parties agree to use joint outside experts to help with questions of valuation of assets, etc. Child custody issues are settled jointly, perhaps with some guidance from family counselors. There is also an overall agreement at the outset that efforts and skills are going to be focused on creative problem solving in order to reach results that are going to be mutually beneficial for all parties involved.
The goal is not revenge, but rather a way to formalize the divorce in a way that is equitable and fair and doesn't turn both parties into warring enemies. It also tends to be quite a bit cheaper than a traditional divorce.
This is not an option for everyone. Deciding to go this route is not something you should do without first consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer regarding all of your options. You should be comfortable with the benefits as well as the potential consequences of such a process.
If you have questions about how it works or whether this is an ideal option for you, contact us today.
If you are contemplating a Brooklyn collaborative divorce, call our offices at (718) 864-2011.
Why a Collaborative Divorce Makes Financial Sense, Aug. 13, 2013, By Geoff Williams, U.S. News & World Report
More Blog Entries:
Uncontested Divorce in New York With Children for New Lowered Fee of $499, Sept. 24, 2013, Brooklyn Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Blog