No doubt about it, divorce is usually an emotionally and financially stressful process. But it is possible to have a peaceful legal separation or divorce—even addressing alimony, child support and child custody issues—without going to court.
Through collaborative law, both parties are represented by their attorneys and agree to resolve their differences out of court, even signing a collaborative law pledge. With this pledge, you and your spouse commit to the following goals:
- Demonstrating mutual respect among the parties
- Focusing on the needs of any children you and your spouse have
- Allowing you and your spouse to retain control of your separation and divorce
- Addressing both parties’ needs and goals for resolution
- Avoiding all negative aspects of using the courts
Advantages of Divorce Through Collaborative Law
Since both parties have committed to work together, a divorce using collaborative law typically costs a fraction of a traditional divorce case. The average contested divorce can run $15,000 to $30,000, while a typical collaborative divorce costs $7,500.
With a divorce using collaborative law, both parties try to focus on the issues, rather than punishing each other in an effort to come out as the “winner” (or make the other party the “loser”). This approach is helpful as the parties move forward post-divorce, and is especially beneficial if the parties have children and need to co-parent.
What Does a Collaborative Law Divorce Process Look Like?
In North Carolina, the parties and their attorneys gather for a series of meetings to decide on issues such as child support, spousal support or alimony and division of assets. Both parties agree to share all relevant documents so the lawyers do not have to formally request them. Experts, such as tax specialists, therapists, custody evaluators and business valuators can be brought in to provide information if necessary. The two sides then negotiate an agreement that works for both parties.