Mutual Consent Divorce
The adoption of no fault divorce laws in all 50 states has gone a long way toward reducing the time, expense and difficulty of getting a divorce today. However, there is another method that does not require a contested trial at all in the form of collaborative divorce.
A collaborative divorce is a way of handling a divorce dispute where both parties are represented by an attorney, but they do not go to trial. Instead, both spouses obtain collaborative attorneys and sort the divorce out through a series of meetings to settle the divorce issues through mutual agreement and without a trial. Similar to divorce mediation, collaborative divorce differs in that both parties are represented by attorneys trained to create a satisfactory settlement.
In the past, couples wishing to dissolve their marriage had to go through a lengthy process where one spouse would file a divorce petition, start the divorce process and follow it through until a resolution reached or a trial occurred. In a collaborative divorce, no one goes to a courtroom until the end of the process after all the information has been exchanged and an agreement has been reached. Upon reaching mutual agreement, the actual divorce paperwork is drafted and the simplified court process will usually begin and end on the same day.
Among the benefits of collaborative divorce is that couples are encouraged to maintain a civil relationship, especially when children are involved the split. Traditional trial lawyers do not let financial or emotional issues get in their way when trying to get the best deal for their clients. Collaborative lawyers have a different perspective than trial lawyers and encourage the parties to resolve issues by themselves without having to result to litigation. When a couple can make their own decisions, it is usually better than having the court mandate them. This benefits people who want to maintain a connection with their spouse due to children, family or even religious requirements.
Going to court is not an option in a collaborative divorce and the process will not work properly if both partners are not acting in good faith and playing by the rules. Collaborative law will not solve every issue of a tricky divorce, but as an alternative to the traditional divorce process it can help resolve some of the rough spots while still moving forward on the practical matters.