Posted by: Vernon Ready
If you and your spouse are looking to get a divorce, you may feel that you have limited options ahead of you. Every divorce is different, so the typical procedures and standards of divorce may not fit your situation.
Luckily, there are alternatives to a traditional divorce in Colorado that are available. These are often referred to as “Alternative Dispute Resolutions,” and include mediation and collaborative divorce. In this post we will outline the definition, advantages, and disadvantages of a collaborative divorce in our state.
Collaborative divorce proceedings are different from any other type of divorce proceedings.
To start, each spouse will hire his or her own attorney. It is important to hire an attorney who is familiar and has experience negotiating a collaborative divorce. Why? Because in collaborative divorce, each attorney will first listen to the needs of the party he or she represents, and then determine how these needs fit into the needs of the family overall. Both attorneys will then meet and discuss how to negotiate the division of property and the allocation of parental responsibilities.
Other third parties, like relationship coaches or financial planners, may also help to guide each spouse through the negotiation process.
If you and your spouse are willing to work together and compromise on the financial and legal decisions that come with a divorce, a collaborative divorce will help proceedings go smoothly, and possibly make it quicker than a traditional divorce.
For example, a collaborative divorce allows you and your spouse to skip most court proceedings. A family judge may still have to sign the final document, but for the most part, negotiations take place outside of a courtroom.
This method of divorce focuses more on the specific needs of each spouse, with each spouse using the other to come to a final agreement. Court proceedings can often pit spouses against each other. Collaborative divorces use a more team-like approach to creating a final settlement. If you have children or aim to have an amicable divorce, collaborative divorces provide a positive environment for divorce proceedings to be held.
While you and your spouse negotiate with your attorneys, all financial information is offered on a volunteer basis. If you do not have full access to your marital assets or suspect that your spouse may be hiding financial information, it is important to make these concerns known or choose a divorce settlement that requires full disclosure of your financial situation. This is especially important to think about if your spouse is involved with businesses or has a financial estate that will allow him or her to easily hide marital assets.
Another disadvantage to collaborative divorce is the policies and processes that come if there are major complications. If a settlement isn’t reached or one spouse threatens litigation, both attorneys will have to withdraw themselves from the case and each party will have to find a new attorney. This can cause people to feel like they’re starting over and that they’ve wasted months of negotiation. With a collaborative divorce, it is imperative that you work together to get negotiations right the first time.
In collaborative divorces, your attorney is your best asset. Since each spouse has his or her own attorney, your attorney will strictly represent you and your needs.
If you and your spouse are considering a collaborative divorce, begin to look for an attorney who will represent you and can help negotiate for a settlement that will satisfy you when your divorce is finalized. Also, be sure to consider the other alternatives, like mediation. The most important part is to find a process that works for you.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.