Have you decided to divorce, yet feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a contentious, difficult court battle? Fighting it out in court is not your only option. A collaborative divorce offers you the opportunity to work through issues amicably, maintaining control over how certain issues are resolved.
Collaborative divorce is not the right choice for every Louisiana couple, but if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are willing and able to work together, it can save both parties time, money and a significant amount of stress. Divorce is a major life event, but cooperation throughout the process can be the most effective way to reach a fair and sustainable agreement.
How does it work?
As in a traditional divorce, both parties will have their own legal counsel for a collaborative divorce. Through a cooperative and respectful process, the two parties will work together to reach reasonable resolutions on issues that pertain to the following:
- Child custody
- Alimony/spousal maintenance
- Property division
- Division of marital debt
- Other issues unique to the family
Agreements reached through the collaborative process are confidential, and keeping the settlement process out of court can save both time and money. While there are many benefits to a cooperative approach to divorce, it may not be the most appropriate choice for your family. The following elements of a collaborative divorce may influence your decision:
- No required neutral party
- Requires face-to-face discussions with both spouses and attorneys present
- Requires commitment of both parties to share important information
- Final agreement is still subject to approval from family law judge
In some cases, spouses are unable to continue to work together after beginning a collaborative divorce, causing the divorce to break down. When this occurs, both attorneys must withdraw and the process will begin again. If an attempt at a collaborative divorce fails, it is likely that the second divorce attempt will follow a more traditional route.
Make the right choice for your best future
A collaborative divorce also allows the two parties to seek the counsel of a team of professionals when resolving important issues. Financial advisors, mental health care providers and other experts can provide counsel to parents and spouses who are trying to lay the groundwork for the best post-divorce future possible.
The choice to collaborate on a divorce settlement is a personal decision. Careful and thoughtful consideration should precede any major life decision that may impact your financial future and the well-being of your children.