Facing a divorce can be daunting. You may dread the process to divide your household, as well as the intervention of the court in deciding on some of the most important aspects of your life.
However, not all couples end their marriages on bad terms. When you and your spouse amicably end your marriage, you could benefit from seeking a collaborative divorce, rather than a divorce through traditional litigation. This process can provide Maryland couples who have few disagreements with a more cooperative, informal and flexible divorce setting.
Defining a collaborative divorce
Similar to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like mediation, the voluntary process of collaborative divorce removes the contentious aspects of a traditional courtroom divorce and replaces them with constructive problem solving. The two spouses first hire and meet separately with their attorneys. After identifying your goals, you and your attorney will meet with your spouse and their attorney.
In these meetings, you will discuss and ideally come to a compromise on key issues like property division, child custody, alimony and more. The process may involve other parties as needed, including a financial planner, a child psychologist, a real estate professional and more.
Benefits of collaboratively resolving issues
A collaborative divorce has many advantages for Maryland couples, including:
- Maintaining privacy. While court records are public, decisions made in a collaborative divorce process remain confidential.
- Saving time and money. Even with meeting several times, a collaborative divorce may conclude more quickly and inexpensively than litigation.
- Prioritizing children. The collaborative nature of this process allows both spouses to prioritize the needs and best interests of their children.
- Offering more control. A collaborative divorce offers more creativity in reaching an agreement, as well as more control to both spouses.
Often at the beginning of the process, both parties agree to work toward resolving issues without going to court. While litigation may still be an option in some situations, both parties would likely need to hire new attorneys and start their cases from scratch.
A collaborative divorce can provide both you and your spouse with the opportunity to accomplish your goals and productively move forward from the marriage. Identify clear goals, be honest and be willing to collaborate to contribute to a more positive, constructive experience.