What Is Collaborative Divorce?

In the context of divorce, words such as “collaboration” and “agreement” may not immediately come to mind, especially if you and your ex-spouse are not on amicable terms. Achieving a collaborative divorce, however, can have numerous benefits for you and your family. It involves working together to resolve your issues outside of court, which can allow you to skip the cost and stress of a trial. 

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

In family law, a divorce can be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree on all of the key terms of the dissolution. This includes child custody, child support, property division and spousal support. If the couple is in agreement, they can sign a contract and a judge will make the divorce official without the case ever having to go to trial. 

A contested divorce, on the other hand, means one or both parties do not agree to the proposed terms of the split. If the couple cannot cooperate or compromise and come to an agreement, an uncontested divorce will eventually end up in court. There, the terms of the divorce will be out of the couple’s hands; a judge will decide for them.

What Does it Mean to Have a Collaborative Divorce?

 In general, an uncontested divorce is preferred to a contested one, as it will be resolved faster, easier and with fewer legal costs. It also allows the divorcing couple to remain in control of the outcome of their case. Finally, it keeps the divorce settlement private rather than airing personal matters in a public trial.

If you wish to have an uncontested divorce case, consider a collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce is a method of resolving contested issues in a divorce using a combination of non-adversarial dispute resolution techniques. The goal of a collaborative divorce is for the couple – along with their divorce lawyers in San Diego, California – to negotiate a solution that meets the needs of both parties.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

In a collaborative divorce, both parties need to be willing to keep an open mind and compromise to work toward a common goal: achieving a divorce settlement and staying out of court. If one or both parties are not willing to negotiate the issues of a divorce, a collaborative process will not be possible.

The basic steps of a collaborative divorce in California are:

  • Signing a participation agreement. This document states that each party’s divorce attorney cannot represent that party if the collaborative divorce process does not result in an agreement. If the case goes to trial, both sides will have to retain new attorneys
  • Meetings with attorneys. Each party will first meet privately with their respective attorneys to discuss their goals for the case. Then, a four-way meeting will take place between the couple and their lawyers to start negotiating contested issues.
  • Reaching an agreement or proceeding to court. Negotiations will continue until the couple reaches an agreement. Experts and mediators may be brought in to help facilitate negotiations. If an agreement cannot be made, the divorce case will go to trial.

 A collaborative divorce aims to reduce tension, avoid conflict and save both parties from having to go to court. It is a process that works toward creative solutions that are agreeable to both parties so that everyone’s needs are met. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are interested in a collaborative divorce in California, start by consulting with an attorney at Boyd Law for legal advice.