There is a common misconception about divorce that pervades our society. Most people believe that a divorce has to be a messy affair. When they think of the “d” word, they think of couples fighting it out in court over money, assets, kids, and more. Certainly, divorces are almost always emotional, and strong emotions can lead to a great deal of hostility, but there are a growing number of couples that see divorce as a pragmatic solution to relationships that, for one reason or another, did not work out as planned.
Thus, more and more people are seeking out less adversarial ways to end their marriage. Since its development in the 1980s, Collaborative Law has quickly established itself as a useful form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for not only divorce, but nearly any other legal dispute.
In this two-part blog, we will detail some common questions and their answers regarding collaborative divorce. For more information, contact the Law Office of Kenneth J. Levey today.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is the use of collaborative law as a means of legally executing a divorce in such a way as to avoid litigation. Couples agree from the beginning of the collaborative divorce process that neither party will pursue litigation, and that they will work together, with guidance from their lawyers and sometimes other experts on financial and custody issues, in order to settle all the details of the divorce such as the division of assets, spousal support, and child custody. Collaborative divorce is meant to serve as a non-adversarial approach to divorce which, ideally, will help minimize conflict and maximize efficiency and satisfaction for both parties involved. Couples agree to act in good faith to fulfill each other’s needs and goals, rather than simply fighting for their own positions.
Can any lawyer help with a Collaborative Divorce?
It is essential that the lawyer for each party involved completely understands all of the intricacies and requirements involved in collaborative law. In order to practice collaborative law, attorneys like Ken Levey must meet stringent standards involving additional training in collaborative practice. Each attorney must also be willing to fully commit to the process in order for it to be effective.
What happens if you can’t reach a settlement?
When you and your lawyers commit to the collaborative approach, you agree to maintain that commitment under practically any circumstances. The flexibility of the process means your lawyers will attempt to help find creative ways to resolve the sticking point that is preventing the completion of a settlement, but if the two parties truly cannot agree and the process breaks down, then each lawyer must withdraw from the case. In order to take the case to court, each party will have to retain new counsel.
Be sure to check back next month when we will post Part 2 of our blog with answers to frequently asked questions about Collaborative Divorce. If you are interested in utilizing collaborative practice for your family law dispute, please contact the Law Office of Kenneth J. Levey to learn more and find out if collaborative law is right for you.