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A collaborative divorce is one in which each party agrees to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom. However, a collaborative divorce has some significant differences from mediation, another form of alternative dispute resolution. If you and your spouse are considering collaborative divorce, it is important to understand how the process works.
During a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will only meet with each other and each of your attorneys. It is essential that you work with a lawyer that understands how the collaborative divorce process works. Collaborative lawyers have special skills, including conflict management and guiding negotiations. If the collaborative divorce process does not work and you have to enter litigation, your lawyer will not be able to represent you, so it is important that your lawyer is just as committed to the process as you are.
Unlike mediation, there is no neutral third party involved in a collaborative divorce that helps you and your spouse come to an agreement. However, professionals are sometimes called in to help with the process. These professionals may include a parenting allocation evaluator that can advise on child custody decisions or appraisers and accountants that can help with property division matters. Although these professionals come with an added cost, they can still save you money because you and your spouse do not have to hire experts on your own, but can share in the cost during collaborative divorce.
Collaborative law does not involve discovery or depositions. Discovery during litigation involves each side asking for information from the other party. During a deposition, the attorney for one side takes sworn testimony from one party outside of the courtroom in order to gain more information. Collaborative divorce does not involve this type of testimony or a lengthy discovery process. Instead, each party enters into collaborative divorce voluntarily and agrees to share any necessary information. This is one reason why collaborative divorce is so much cheaper than litigation.
After several meetings with your spouse and both of your attorneys, you may reach an agreement about child custody, spousal maintenance, property division, and other terms. Both attorneys will work to draft the paperwork outlining the agreement and after you and your spouse sign it, the agreement is submitted to the court. If a judge approves the agreement, it is then final and each side is expected to abide by the terms of the agreement.
If you are interested in a divorce process that is less expensive and less time-consuming, our dedicated Hinsdale divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can help. Our attorneys have the necessary experience to negotiate effectively with the other side so you can come to an agreement quickly and move forward in your new life. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation so we can review your options with you.