What is Collaborative Divorce?

What is Collaborative Divorce?

No couple wants their dirty laundry aired in court. Divorce litigation is an anxiety-provoking process that only causes spouses to resent each other.

In Colorado, a couple may be able to come to a settlement agreement out of court. In doing so, both parties must agree up front to no litigation by signing a contract. They will hire attorneys to help them negotiate mutually acceptable terms. This process is known as a collaborative divorce.

If you are in need of a Littleton family law attorney, look no further. The attorneys at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, are here to help you find the best path in negotiating the terms of your collaborative divorce.

What Issues Need to Be Agreed Upon?

In order for a couple to pursue a collaborative divorce, they must come to an agreement on the following issues:

  • Division of property and assets
    • Property must be classified as either marital or separate property
    • Couples must agree on how commingled assets (funds that were initially separate property but are now owned by both people) will be divided
  • Child custody or “co-parenting”
    • Parents must be willing to discuss a time-sharing schedule
  • Child support
    • Parents must be willing to focus on the needs of their child/children
  • Alimony/spousal support/maintenance
    • Both parties must be able to agree to what is most fair without causing one side financial strain

In order for a collaborative divorce to be the right choice, both spouses must be completely transparent. This collaborative process won’t work if there are any secret bank accounts or debts.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce  

When a couple consents to a collaborative divorce, they agree that all communications will be kept confidential and cannot be used in future court proceedings. 

Collaborative divorce comes with certain benefits of:

  • Privacy: both parties involved are able to keep the case private to their family; 
  • Saving time and money: both parties can keep the divorce process out of a courtroom;
  • Expediency: in keeping the case out of the courtroom, the case can be wrapped up quicker;
  • Protecting children: the divorce process is completed in a way that both parties are respectful to one another with no mud-slinging; and
  • No resentment: in following a collaborative process, both spouses are able to come to a mutual agreement without feeling anger toward each other

A collaborative divorce is not the right choice for every couple, so it is important to speak with a collaborative divorce attorney to discuss the best option for you and your spouse.

Collaborative Divorce versus Mediation

The Colorado legal system offers both collaborative divorce and mediation as dissolution options. 

While collaborative divorce allows each party’s respective attorneys and the parties to reach an agreement through negotiation, mediation is done with a mediator (a neutral thir party) who listens to both sides. 

In mediation, the neutral party is specially trained to open the lines of communication between both spouses. The mediator cannot give legal advice, but does aim to help both parties come to an agreement.

Notably, in collaborative divorce, the settlement agreement would be drafted by both parties’ attorneys and then reviewed with their respective clients. However, in mediation, the mediator would draft the settlement agreement and give both sides time to review the proposed terms. Both collaborative divorce and mediation are confidential processes.

A Littleton Family Law Attorney Who Can Help

Inevitably, a couple that has decided to take the leap and file for divorce will have many concerns. The dynamics of the family will never be the same again. If you have made the difficult decision to get a divorce, you may not know what legal path to choose. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and let us help you find the right solution for you and your family.

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