Common Questions About Collaborative Divorce

upset wife and husband showing support - collaborative divorce concept
If you’re considering parting ways with your spouse, it’s important to be aware that there are many methods that can be used to divorce. Rather than go through the lengthy, costly, and adversarial litigation process, collaborative divorce offers a number of benefits for divorcing spouses — and their children. Here are some of the most common questions about collaborative divorce to give you a better understanding of what you might expect with this method of alternative dispute resolution.

What are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce comes with a wide range of benefits. Importantly, it is non-adversarial and takes place outside the courtroom, affording spouses more privacy and confidentiality. Since financial disclosure is mandatory between parties in the adversarial divorce process, the need for formal discovery is eliminated — and the process can be less time consuming and more cost-effective than a litigated divorce. Unlike litigation, which can be contentious and require a judge to determine the result, spouses who use the collaborative process can divorce more amicably and remain in full control regarding the outcome of their case.

Is the Collaborative Process Right for My Divorce?

The collaborative divorce process can be used even if spouses don’t agree on every aspect of the divorce. The only thing spouses must agree on from the outset is their willingness to participate in the collaborative process — and not resort to litigation. Whether collaborative divorce is right for a couple will depend upon their ability to work together. While it can work for most cases, it may not be right for those involving a history of domestic violence or abuse.

Is the Collaborative Process Better for My Children?

Collaborative divorce is a good option for spouses with children. Not only can you put your children’s needs first, but the process can ensure you find solutions that work for your family. Although judges are required to decide child custody matters by applying the standard “the best interests of the child,” you know your family best. When you work together with your co-parent during the collaborative process, you can reach a resolution that considers everyone’s needs.

Who is on a Collaborative Team?

A collaborative team includes an attorney for each party who focuses on collaborative divorce — and a team of highly qualified professionals. The team you assemble can be tailored to the unique needs of your case. Depending upon the issues that must be resolved, a collaborative team can include financial neutrals, child custody specialists, valuation experts, real estate professionals, and mental health professionals. Each professional will focus on creative problem-solving, help to remove roadblocks, and provide guidance in reaching a settlement.

Do I Need an Attorney for the Collaborative Process?

One of the most common questions about collaborative divorce is whether you need an attorney. In collaborative divorce, each spouse must be represented by their own attorney. Your attorney will advise you regarding your rights and help to reach a fair settlement. Importantly, a collaborative agreement must be signed by the parties and their attorneys limiting the scope of representation to the collaborative process. A collaborative divorce attorney cannot represent the same parties in the event one spouse no longer wishes to participate and the case proceeds to litigation.

Can the Collaborative Process Minimize Conflict?

A significant benefit of utilizing the collaborative divorce process is minimizing conflict between spouses. Spouses are encouraged to work together and have open discussions about their concerns, which can help to reduce tension and hostility during this emotionally overwhelming time. Since the collaborative process can lead to a more amicable outcome, it can also help to set a framework for healthy communication and positive co-parenting post-divorce, reducing conflict for years to come.

What Happens if the Collaborative Divorce Process Doesn’t Work?

The collaborative divorce process has a high chance of success for most couples who are divorcing. However, in limited cases, the process might break down if a spouse refuses to compromise or no longer wishes to proceed with the method. This can have a devastating impact — emotionally and financially. However, if a spouse refuses to continue participating, both parties will be required to find new attorneys to represent them, and the case will proceed to litigation.

Contact an Experienced Oregon Collaborative Divorce Attorney

If you are thinking about divorce, it’s essential to have experienced legal counsel by your side who can discuss your options and protect your rights. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to answer your collaborative divorce questions and guide you through the legal process. Based in Salem, Litowich Law is committed to providing clients throughout Oregon with reliable representation for a wide variety of divorce and family law matters, including collaborative divorce. We welcome you to contact us to schedule a consultation.
Categories: Divorce