Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging and stressful experiences in life; but, it doesn’t have to be that way. Collaborative divorce is a new approach that has been gaining popularity around the world, and it’s quickly becoming a go-to option for couples in Washington State who want to go through the divorce process civilly and amicably. With a team of professionals, you and your spouse can reach a settlement that works best for both parties. However, before considering a collaborative divorce, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of this process, its benefits, requirements, and potential downsides. In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about collaborative divorce before taking that big step.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce is a process that lets both parties work together with financial advisors, child specialists, and mental health counselors to assist in reaching a successful outcome. The process is non-adversarial, meaning it does not involve a court intervention or a judge’s decision. This allows the couple to work out the terms of their divorce together, taking into account the needs and interests of everyone involved, and resolve issues like property distribution, debts, parenting plans, child custody, and support.
Collaborative Divorce Process
The collaborative divorce process starts with both parties retaining a divorce attorney who meets with the couple to discuss goals and objectives. During the negotiation stage, the attorneys and other professionals, such as a financial expert and a mental health provider will provide a neutral space to listen and address concerns. Once an agreement is reached, the divorce lawyers finalize the process by creating a legal separation agreement. It’s important to note that if at any time one party chooses to withdraw their cooperation in the negotiation process, the process ends, and parties are forced to go through court mediation or litigation.
Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce aims to make the divorce process as amicable as possible, reducing the likelihood of emotional battles and lengthy court proceedings. Here are more reasons to consider it:
- It offers a less adversarial, emotional, and expensive alternative to a traditional divorce.
- It is confidential, saves time, and can foster better long-term communication between the parties.
- Both parties can openly share their concerns and ideas, providing an opportunity to create solutions that work best for everyone.
Downsides of a Collaborative Divorce
While the benefits of a collaborative divorce can make the process attractive, it’s essential to be aware of the potential downsides.
- The process only works if both parties are willing to cooperate fully.
- If one spouse refuses to participate or does not agree to the settlement, there’s no option but to go to court, which can be expensive and time-consuming.
- Additionally, because a collaborative divorce is not adversarial, you may forfeit some of your legal rights that are assured in a traditional divorce.
How Much Does a Collaborative Divorce Cost?
The cost of a collaborative divorce depends on the complexity of the issues and other factors. In general, a collaborative divorce is less expensive than a traditional divorce, but the fees of divorce lawyers and other professionals involved can add up. If the process is not successful, you may end up spending more money than you would under normal circumstances.
Collaborative divorce in Washington can be an excellent option for couples seeking a less adversarial, more peaceful, and cost-effective way to end their marriage. Research shows that the collaborative process results in more satisfactory outcomes and better relationships between couples post-divorce. When compared to a contested divorce, it costs less, takes less time, and provides a more amicable process, ultimately saving money, time, and stress for all parties involved; however, it is not for everyone. It’s best to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer to discuss your case and determine if a collaborative divorce is right for you. Attorneys at The Cowlitz Law Group can provide you with legal guidance for your situation to help you make an informed decision. Get in touch with us to learn more about your case and move forward with the best decision for you.