Collaborative Law: A Kinder, Gentler Divorce

If you're considering divorce, you may not want to go through traditional litigation — that full-blown court battle known as the divorce process so many people fear and — rightly so. You're not only restructuring your life; you're dividing assets, debts and responsibility of the children. This can be a daunting process filled with emotion, contention and a hope for a better way.

One option that offers a more amicable way of accomplishing your goals and staying in control of a divorce is collaborative family law, which is a new, highly effective process in which each spouse hires a family lawyer committed to devising "win-win" agreements.

Collaborative law is oftentimes referred to as a kinder, gentler alternative to the adversarial method commonly expected during dissolution of your marriage. It is a way for you and your spouse to intelligently work with trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court. Each spouse has the support and guidance of his or her own lawyer, and all four work together to arrive at a final marital settlement agreement.

What Happens In Collaborative Proceedings?

Couples who choose to go through collaborative divorce are first required to make a contractual commitment that states both spouses will engage in:

  • Good-faith negotiations
  • Full disclosure
  • Acknowledgment of the other spouse's needs
  • Protection of the children
  • A good-faith effort to avoid court proceedings

Other professionals, such as accountants, child development specialists and property appraisers, are retained jointly and work as neutrals. This commitment requires the withdrawal of these professionals, including your attorney, should you choose to abandon the collaborative process and wish to go to court.

Who Benefits From Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative family law is the best choice for divorcing spouses who understand the need for a commitment to settlement, have the ability to compromise and want the advantages of legal advice and problem-solving built into the settlement process without the stress of litigation.

It can also help spouses arrive at creative settlements even when the problems are complex. The settlement results can often be more creative than in traditional divorce proceedings, because neither lawyer succeeds in the job she or he was hired for unless both spouses' concerns are addressed in the settlement.

And because issues concerning more contentious matters, such as equitable distribution of marital property and custody and visitation, are handled by the couple, spouses oftentimes feel more in control of the situation and are happier with the results they have come up with.

Contact Our Firm For Help

Attorney Michelle A. Barry enjoys a reputation for the ability to successfully resolve problems in ways that are constructive, cost-effective and maximize the outcome for each spouse. Commitment to aggressive representation has its place in reaching a settlement agreement. Collaborative family law, however, uses a kinder, gentler approach, resulting in marital settlement agreements without resorting to any form of litigation or any intimidating adjudicatory procedures.

If you're interested in trying collaborative divorce, contact the law office of Michelle A. Barry, P.A., in Longwood, Florida. To schedule an appointment, call us at 407-622-4529 (toll free 888-351-8303) or send us an email.

A free 15-minute initial telephone consultation is available to discuss your case. Email documents to us prior to a call for the most beneficial use of your time. In-person consultations are available at a reduced rate that will be put toward a retainer. We accept all major credit cards for your convenience.