Whether they live in Jupiter or Wellington, divorcing couples in Palm Beach County are seeking alternatives to the traditional adversarial divorce model. While it may not have ended in “happily ever after”, is there a way to achieve positivity in divorce? Some couples are forgoing litigation or mediation for a third option – a collaborative divorce. Learn about the basics of this constructive alternative method for marriage dissolution and if it may be right for you.
What is collaborative divorce?
In a collaborative approach, parties and their family law attorneys agree to settle matters involving division of assets and debt, alimony, child support, child contact schedule (custody), timesharing (visitation rights), and other matters through negotiation, mediation, compromise and/or agreement, instead of through litigation.
How does it differ from traditional divorce?
- A divorce that is collaborative offers a mutually respectful, open-minded process that focuses on joint problem solving.
- The goal of a divorce that is collaborative is to reach an agreement without going to court by developing an effective relationship with your ex-spouse that enables you to make joint decisions.
- A divorce that is collaborative is future focused. Instead of remaining entrenched in the past due to anger and bitterness, parties learn to interact with each other cooperatively and define goals for the future.
- A divorce that is collaborative offers an expanded team of professionals rather than a single attorney. The result is that parties have more access to information, more guidance from experts, more transparency throughout the proceedings, and more mutually beneficial solutions.
What are the benefits of collaborative divorce?
- Parties experience a sense of empowerment and control.
- Helps maintain a consistent and positive relationship between children and their divorcing parents.
- Often less expensive.
- Greater transparency due to parties having easier and greater access to information. This helps the parties focus on healing from the divorce, rather than fault-finding and fact checking.
- Offers a win-win solution. Parties achieve a more mutually beneficial solution versus litigation where the only options are: one spouse wins, the other spouse wins, or both sides lose because the judge entered orders that neither party likes.
- The parties learn how to work with each other and how to resolve their problems in the future without needing to litigate.
- Confidentiality. Since there is no court appearance and because discussions and negotiations occur during private meetings, the details of the divorce are not made public.
Who is a good candidate for collaborative divorce?
This divorce approach may be appropriate for individuals who:
- Want to minimize emotional fallout.
- Desire privacy and are willing to share information and forgo game-playing.
- Are focused on maintaining a strong and healthy relationship with their children.
- Want to work towards common interest rather than argue for their personal position.
- Are willing to find other ways to deal with anger and disappointment rather than having “their day in court”.
When is collaborative divorce not a good alternative?
While a divorce that is collaborative boasts positive attributes, there are a number of situations where it should not be pursued. These include marriages with:
- A history of abuse by either party.
- Criminal acts by either party (such as tax evasion or embezzlement)
- Mental illness.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.
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