Courts want parties to come to reach their own agreements. Agreements save a court’s time and empower the parties by allowing full consideration of factors like sentimental value. Agreements allow for one party’s willingness to concede more than a court would in exchange for some concession on another issue. Out of court agreements can have many benefits, including lowered litigation costs, faster resolutions, fewer litigated modifications in the future and generally less emotional trauma.
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Collaborative divorce is a broad phrase that describes an approach to separation which can reduce the costs and emotional trauma of a contentious divorce. People who want to preserve a workable relationship, and are willing to work together toward a fair resolution for both parties can benefit from a collaborative approach. In collaborative divorces, both parties and their lawyers commit to negotiating toward an agreement without any intervention from a court, and lawyers for both sides agree not to participate in any subsequent litigation if negotiations fail.
If a complete agreement is reached, the parties essentially inform the court of their agreement, submit a copy to the court, and if the agreement meets legal requirements, the court simply ratifies it and issues an order.
Although collaborative divorces can be very beneficial, they require some level of trust in the other party’s commitment to a fair and equitable solution. All parties agree to assist each other toward an agreeable settlement in a non-adversarial way. Accordingly, this approach simply is not workable for everyone, and even those who can benefit from this approach are advised to retain an attorney to assist with ensuring any final agreement meets legal requirements, and to ensure the retaining party’s long-term interests are protected.
What seems like a good agreement today, especially if it means “just getting this behind me”, can be a source of long-term regret and hardship later. Talk to a Colorado divorce attorney about which approach is best for you.