Collaborative divorce follows a different process than litigation; it’s not as direct in terms of paperwork and documentation. Furthermore, two-way divorce isn’t subject to general dissolution laws. For these reasons, collaborative divorce may seem more intimidating than it actually is. However, the truth is: it’s one of the most painless options this side of the courthouse. Considering divorce? Here’s everything you need to know about collaborative filing.
Contact Separate Collaborative Divorce Professionals
First things first, you shouldn’t hire just any attorney. Secondly, unlike divorce mediation, you’ll need to retain separate counsel from your spouse. You may be wondering how you’ll know which professional you should choose. The right lawyer will be a licensed collaborative professional with certified joint-divorce training. Ask both prospective attorneys for proof of this certification and verify that he or she received at least 12 hours of collaborative divorce training.
Since collaborative divorce starts and ends with communication, contacting an attorney should be your first step in opening up those lines.
Promise to Stay Away From the Courtroom
Before filing is even initiated, both parties sign a formal agreement to keep out of the courtroom. The contract involves a pledge for respectful resolution through open and honest communication. This means both spouses agree to settle all claims, such as alimony and child support, through the cooperative meetings. In some cases, third-party mental health or financial professionals may be enlisted to facilitate the process.
Prepare the Proper Paperwork
Collaborative divorce is a more personal process; it’s important to note that, while certain documents may be prepared, not all will be filed with your local circuit court clerk. That’s because two-way divorce is built on trust and client privacy, making it an ideal option for those who want discreet dissolution.
Within the collaborative process the spouses and lawyers will work together to develop a settlement agreement, which does not necessarily need to be filed but must still be kept by both parties after the divorce. It’s a legally binding contract that outlines the details of the divorce, including financial support and other post-marital considerations. The settlement agreement usually accompanies financial affidavits, as well as parenting plans and other related documents.
To finalize the divorce, an official form, the Joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Utilizing the Collaborative Process, must be filed.
Ultimately, a divorce attorney will let you know what collaborative items must be filed with the circuit court according to your particular situation.
Ready to take the first step in your collaborative divorce?
Contact Dean G. Tsourakis today to start the collaborative divorce process by scheduling a free consultation.on Sep 1, 2014