While for many couples obtaining a divorce is a contentious and emotionally charged affair, some people who decide to end their marriage are able to work together to ensure that each party receives a fair outcome. For couples in this situation, collaborative or cooperative divorce may be an option. Both options are designed to avoid litigation and have the couple seeking a divorce work together with their attorneys as well as other professionals in order to reach a mutually agreeable settlement as to whatever issues they may deem critical. Although these negotiations are entered into with the best of intentions, it is still important that each party retain legal counsel to ensure that their legal rights are fully protected. Divorce law can be complicated, and there may be issues that could potentially arise of which non-attorneys may not even be aware. As a result, anyone considering divorce, collaborative or otherwise, should be sure to consult with a lawyer before entering into any legally binding agreement.
What is Collaborative and Cooperative Divorce?
The key issue in a collaborative divorce is that both parties enter into an agreement in which they commit to resolving the issues salient to their divorce without going to court. If they are unable to do so and resort to litigation, both attorneys are required to withdraw their representation. Both parties agree to deal with each other respectfully and in good faith, and also agree to use neutral specialists to resolve contested issues. As such, the parties to a collaborative divorce are heavily invested in the process, as giving up on the negotiation process would involve “starting over” with new attorneys, meaning that all attorney’s and other professional fees up to that point would have been wasted.
One of the significant advantages of the collaborative divorce process is that both parties are able to use jointly hired professional in order to resolve complicated issues such as the valuation of a business or guidance on issues regarding parenting. This is significantly different than the situation that occurs when both parties bring in adversarial experts, relying on a court to decide between two sometimes vastly opposing positions on a contested issue.
Cooperative divorce is very similar to collaborative divorce, but the parties’ attorneys are not required to withdraw, should negotiations break down.
Regardless of whether a person or a couple chooses to pursue a collaborative, cooperative, or traditional divorce, it is extremely important to retain legal representation. There are many important issues that can arise in divorce proceedings, including the following:
· Division of property;
· Child custody;
· Maintenance (alimony);
· Child support;
· Business interests;
· Legal protections from domestic violence; and
Many other issues could potentially arise in a divorce, and will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation.
Contact a Boca Raton Family Law Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
Anyone considering a divorce should be certain to discuss their situation with an experienced Florida divorce lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Florida attorney Alan R. Burton, call our office today (954) 229-1660.