When most people contemplate getting a divorce, they believe that they will have to get into a bitter and lengthy fight in court with their spouse. However, it does not have to be like that. You may be able to divorce in a much less time-consuming and less painful way by choosing a collaborative divorce.
What Is a Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce is a fairly new way that divorcing couples can achieve a divorce. It is the process of spouses reaching agreed-upon solutions to their disputes in a respectful, supportive environment outside of court. The goal is to achieve a settlement that both partners agree to and meet both of their needs.
Collaborative divorces can be less costly and result in obtaining a divorce sooner. The partners have more control over what happens because they are working together to achieve a solution to their problems. It can also be better for the children who the divorce will impact. The couple can make decisions about all aspects of their divorce, such as:
- Division of marital property
- Marital debts
- Custody of children
- Child support, visitation, and parenting plan
- Post-divorce matters
How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?
You should still retain an experienced family law attorney if you and your spouse agree on a collaborative divorce. You both have potentially competing interests and need your own lawyers.
Your attorney can attend your sessions with you in a collaborative divorce. Here is how the process works:
- Collaborative team. You and your spouse will need to decide what collaborative team members you need to help you resolve issues in your divorce. Besides your attorneys, you may want to use a mental health specialist, financial specialist, child specialist, or divorce coach.
- Goals. Your lawyers and the collaborative team can help you and your spouse identify your goals that should be met through the collaborative divorce process.
- Documentation and issues. Part of the process entails determining what you and your spouse already agree on and the issues that will need to be resolved before your divorce can be completed. The attorneys can collect the documents and any other information that may be needed to resolve these issues.
- Options. With the help of your collaborative team, you and your spouse would explore your options and brainstorm solutions to disputes so that both of your goals and needs are met in the way that is best for your family situation.
- Written agreement. Once an agreement is reached, your attorneys would draft a divorce settlement agreement that outlines how you are resolving all of the issues in your divorce. You and your spouse would sign it.
- Divorce. Once you and your spouse have been separated for the required amount of time under Virginia law, your attorneys would complete the process of finalizing your uncontested divorce. They would have a judgment of divorce that incorporates the terms of your Marital Settlement Agreement signed by the judge.
Do you have questions about whether a collaborative divorce is right for you? Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced family law attorneys to discuss this and other options you have for obtaining a divorce in Virginia.