Collaborative Divorce Attorneys in Oregon
Divorce can be overwhelming and emotionally draining. It can also take a significant economic toll. However, an alternative way to divorce exists that can reduce the negative emotional and financial impact of ending your marriage: collaborative divorce.
A collaborative divorce can allow you and your spouse to part ways amicably without court intervention. It can also help alleviate the stress, time, and expense that is often associated with litigation. In addition, collaborative divorce can also be beneficial to promote a positive co-parenting relationship between you and your spouse for the benefit of your children. Litowich Law provides skillful representation for clients who seek to utilize the collaborative process to help ensure the most favorable outcome is reached in their cases and for their children.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial process by which spouses commit to resolving the issues in their divorce in a private and neutral setting, instead of resorting to litigation. Rather than have their case heard by a judge, divorcing spouses who use the collaborative process work with a team of professionals who help them achieve the best possible results.
The collaborative divorce team that is assembled depends upon the specific needs of the case and can include the following:
- Financial professional — A financial professional can help to gather all relevant financial documents and prepare an estimate of each spouse's financial needs.
- Appraiser — An appraiser can determine the value of specific assets such as real estate, art, jewelry, and other real or personal property.
- Accountant — An accountant can keep the parties focused on the financial issues in the case and enter into an agreement that distributes assets and property fairly.
- Divorce coach — A divorce coach can assist the parties with navigating the complexities of divorce and offer emotional support.
- Child custody specialist — A child custody specialist can ensure that the parenting plan and custody arrangement put into place is in the children's best interests.
- Mental health professional — A therapist or other mental health professional can help facilitate respectful communication and reduce conflict.
Each spouse is represented by their own attorney throughout the collaborative divorce process. While the attorneys provide support, guidance, and offer legal advice, they do not take an adversarial approach in a collaborative divorce. If either party decides they no longer wish to follow through with the collaborative process, new attorneys will have to be retained for litigation.
Collaborative divorce can be a healthier way to end a marriage, particularly when there are children involved. By eliminating the "win" mentality that often comes with litigating a matrimonial matter, you may be able to maintain a healthy relationship with your former spouse, which is critical to successful and healthy co-parenting. With the collaborative process, the parties can work toward creative solutions regarding custody and parenting time agreements and ensure the children's interests come first.
What is the Process for Collaborative Divorce?
To begin the collaborative divorce process, each party will typically meet with their respective attorneys on their own to discuss their legal rights and options. At the first session, the parties will enter into a participation agreement that they will not threaten litigation at any time during the collaborative process. At this time, the team of professionals will also be assembled based on the specific issues that must be addressed in the case.
Depending on the complexity of the case, there may be as little as only a few sessions needed. During the meetings, each party will have the opportunity to discuss their concerns and assert their objectives. While spouses may not agree on every issue in the case, and some conflict can be expected, the collaborative process can help to facilitate respectful communication and provide the spouses with the tools necessary to reach a compromise.
The team works together until a resolution is reached concerning all the issues in the divorce. Once a plan addressing property division, asset distribution, spousal maintenance, child support, and custody has been finalized, it must be filed with the court and becomes binding on the parties.
The Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and Litigation
There are many crucial differences between collaborative divorce and litigation. By utilizing the collaborative process, the spouses maintain control over the outcome of the issues in their case. Instead of letting a judge decide asset and property division, alimony, child support, and custody matters, spouses work together with their team to reach a fair settlement.
The collaborative divorce process is private and confidential. It can be a preferred alternative to litigation for those who do not wish to reveal the personal and financial details of their marriage in a public courtroom. Additionally, documents related to assets and finances do not become part of the public record.
Another major difference to note is that there is no formal discovery in collaborative divorce as with litigation. When spouses enter into an agreement to divorce using the collaborative process, they consent to exchange financial information and other relevant documentation voluntarily. Significantly, the attorneys in the case also have an obligation to ensure that their clients make full financial disclosure.
Contact Our Experienced Collaborative Divorce Attorneys
There are numerous benefits to the collaborative divorce process. An experienced divorce attorney can explain your legal rights and help you understand your options. The collaborative divorce attorneys at Litowich Law are dedicated to helping clients achieve positive outcomes in their matrimonial matters. Located in Salem, we work with clients throughout Oregon. Call 503-850-7779 or email us to schedule an appointment to learn more about how we can help.