What Is Collaborative Divorce, and Is It Right for You?

Robin M. Mermans, Esq
February 1, 2023

Collaborative divorce refers to the process of removing domestic disputes from a typical "fight and win" setting into a gentler, "troubleshoot and problem solve" setting. This process leans on mediation and negotiation in order to settle a divorce, rather than courtroom or litigation posturing.  

According to the North Carolina Collaborative Attorney Network (NC-CAN), Collaborative Divorce was first written into law in 2003, as an alternative to traditional divorce. Collaborative law proceedings provide a welcome change to couples looking for a different way to maneuver through divorce. On this path, couples work with specially trained Collaborative attorneys to reach a legally binding agreement in a respectful and non-adversarial manner.

The Collaborative attorneys have a shared philosophy and “team approach” to divorce that is ideal for couples who want to minimize hostility during the divorce process and avoid trauma or heavy-duty expenses. If you want an amicable parting that paves the way for a healthy post-divorce and co-parenting relationship, a Collaborative Divorce is a great solution.

Principles of Collaborative Divorce

A Collaborative Divorce is based upon three main, overarching principles:

  • A pledge not to go to court
  • An honest exchange of information by both spouses
  • A solution that takes into account the highest priorities of both adults and their children.

The key difference between a Collaborative Divorce and conventional or traditional divorce is the written pledge to reach an agreement outside of court. This pledge, called a Participation Agreement, requires both your and your spouse’s Collaborative Divorce attorneys to withdraw from your case if they can’t resolve all of your issues out of court. The ability to hold both attorneys accountable in this manner is what makes the Collaborative Divorce process different.

Another important aspect of the Participation Agreement is that both your and your partner’s legal teams promise to be part of a respectful process that leads to an out-of-court resolution. In this collaborative practice, the key goal is to develop effective relationships, solve problems jointly, and prevent a court battle.

Finding your way to a respectful resolution

Mutual respect is fundamental to the collaborative process and at the heart of any Collaborative Divorce practice. An accredited or certified Collaborative Divorce professional is specially trained to help you and your spouse or partner with the support and protection you need, along with important legal guidance—all without needing to take your divorce proceedings to court.

Although you and your partner may be ending your relationship together as a married or legally bound couple, you don’t necessarily end your shared relationship completely, especially if you share children. Which is one of the many reasons why a Collaborative Divorce can be so beneficial to you and your family.

By entering into a Collaborative Divorce, and retaining control over your divorce proceedings (rather than relinquishing the decision making to a judge), you’re also ensuring you and your partner can move forward together along the Collaborative Divorce process.

We’ll look more deeply at what the Collaborative Divorce process entails in future blog posts. But, in a nutshell, the overall collaborative process:

  • Encourages mutual respect.
  • Emphasizes the needs of your children.
  • Avoids the need for you and your partner to go to court.
  • Keeps control of the divorce process with you and your spouse.
  • Provides for open, honest, and supportive communications.
  • Utilizes a problem-solving approach to your divorce.
  • Identifies and addresses the interests and concerns of all.
  • Prepares you, your spouse, and your family for a positive future.

When respect is both given and received, discussions are likely to be more productive and positive. This paves the way for reaching a more successful, easy, and effective divorce agreement.

Is Collaborative Divorce right for you?

We can help both you and your spouse find the best solutions to match your specific wishes and needs. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (980) 260-1600 to learn more about how Collaborative Divorce might work in your unique situation. Our Charlotte-based team of legal experts are ready to help you. Our mission is to offer support, education, and guidance to you and your family during these sometimes challenging times.  

Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice. For more information, please contact www.ROADtoRESOLUTION.com.

Robin M. Mermans, Esq
Founder and Principal Attorney

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