If your marriage is just not working any longer, you may have already come to the conclusion that the only thing to do now is to get a divorce. With that in mind, you most likely will want to get the divorce process over with as little conflict and unpleasantness as possible. You will probably want to consider getting a collaborative divorce, which is a legal process that will let you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree to the terms of the divorce together, with minimal negativity involved.
When you sit down to negotiate your divorce terms with your spouse, there will undoubtedly be some differences of opinion. After all, you are two different people with different viewpoints and opinions and the issues that you will be working out are significant and will affect all of you for a very long time. You will probably be discussing property division, child custody and child support, among other serious issues.
Will we end up in court in the end?
As you move through your divorce process, you will not necessarily end up in court in front of a judge. You can consider court as your last resort, in fact. If you and your spouse are not able to agree on the issues and emotions take over and; therefore, you don’t get anything accomplished, you may end up in court. However, if you can make collaborative decisions, you may only need a judge to sign off on your divorce in the end. If you can keep most of your divorce out of court, you will save yourself a lot of time and money.
A contested divorce can really take an extreme toll on you emotionally, which you don’t need at such a difficult time as it is.
Should we try mediation?
Mediation is a key part of collaborative divorce.
You may have heard people speak about mediation. If you and your spouse get along, you may want to try to go through the divorce process using a mediator. In mediation, the mediator (who is an impartial person) can help you and your spouse to come to an agreement that works for both of you. The difference between using a mediator and a collaborative divorce lawyer is that the mediator is always neutral and the lawyer isn’t.
The mediator acts as a facilitator who helps the two of you to talk through issues that you may find difficult to discuss otherwise and may be able to help you to settle disagreements that you can’t on your own. The mediator cannot force you to agree but if they are effective, you may start to see things differently and come to an agreement.
Essentially, the process of collaborative divorce means your attorneys agree that they will resolve your divorce through mediation. If you can’t reach agreement through mediation, they will resign from your case. This gives everyone a strong incentive to reach agreement through mediation.
What if we can agree on some issues but not on others?
Even if you are not able to agree on everything, mediation can be helpful because you will be that much closer to getting through the process. In that case, you will be able to get at the really difficult issues that you have thus far been unable to resolve with your spouse. If you are still unable to resolve those issues, a judge can help you to do so. You might also think about mediation as the step that prepares you for court so that you have an understanding about what to expect.
Going with a collaborative divorce in the end
If you have done everything possible and it still isn’t working for you, you should consider a collaborative divorce. In the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse will negotiate an agreement with help from a professional. You will each have your own collaborative lawyer and your lawyer will advise you and assist you. In a collaborative divorce, you meet separately with your lawyers and you also meet together. It is common to have a contract between you that says that you will not go to court.
Seeking advice from a collaborative divorce lawyer
If you have decided that you don’t want to go to court to obtain your divorce unless there is no other way, collaborative divorce may be the answer. There are different ways to approach a collaborative divorce and the one thing that they have in common is that the goal is to stay out of court and work out your differences together. Hopefully, everything will work out the way that you hope and you can look forward to the next, exciting chapter of your life, which will give you a bright future and a wonderful way to start over.