Do you wish there was a way to resolve your divorce issues without the stress of the courtroom and the expense of litigation? Collaborative Law may be your answer. Collaborative Law allows you to resolve your legal disputes without a trial and to achieve separation without litigation. Collaborative Law is non-adversarial. This means the parties are working together toward a resolution rather than against each other.
Collaborative Family Law. The collaborative approach is most often used in family law disputes. The North Carolina General Statutes define collaborative law as follows:
A procedure in which a husband and wife who are separated and are seeking a divorce, or are contemplating separation and divorce, and their attorneys agree to use their best efforts and make a good faith attempt to resolve their disputes arising from the marital relationship on an agreed basis. The procedure shall include an agreement by the parties to attempt to resolve their disputes without having to resort to judicial intervention, except to have the court approve the settlement agreement and sign the orders required by law to effectuate the agreement of the parties as the court deems appropriate. The procedure shall also include an agreement where the parties’ attorneys agree not to serve as litigation counsel, except to ask the court to approve the settlement agreement.The parties and their lawyers sign an agreement promising to negotiate in good faith, attempting to settle their disputes out of court.
The parties voluntarily share information and documents. The parties attempt to put aside negative emotions and work together toward a resolution. For these reasons, the process often resembles mediation. The parties and the attorneys agree that if the collaborative approach does not work, neither of the lawyers will represent the parties in court. This ensures that all those involved are working collaboratively rather than as adversaries.
No battle of the experts. Often with litigation, each party will hire an expert such as an appraiser. Each party ends up paying their own appraiser and then both appraisers testify in court. Lawyers often refer to this as a “battle of the experts.” The problem with this approach is that it is expensive and unpredictable.
With a Collaborative Law approach, the parties assemble a team of experts which may include appraisers, financial advisers and counselors. These experts work as members of the collaborative team in an effort to guide the parties to a mutually agreeable resolution. Obviously, this approach is less expensive, but it has the added benefit of promoting cooperation and trust between the parties.
Separation Without Litigation. Collaborative Family Law has many advantages:
- You have control over the resolution of your dispute.
- Your private information does not become public, allowing you to maintain your privacy.
- The collaborative approach is less expensive and less stressful than going to court.
- Litigation can actually make difficult relationships more strained. Because divorcing couples will continue to have a relationship with each other through their children, collaborative law solutions promote better relationships for parents and children.
Is Collaborative Law Right For You?
Not all cases are right for the collaborative approach. Sometimes there are simply too many hurt feelings and negative emotions for the collaborative law approach. However, if you and your spouse or ex-spouse are interested in saving money and working together toward a resolution that is good for both of you, collaborative family law may be the right choice.
Stephanie and David Irvine have both completed the required training to serve as collaborative lawyers and are members of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. If you and your spouse are separated or separating, and if saving money, reducing stress and preserving a positive relationship for the sake of your children appeals to you, Contact Irvine Law Firm to see whether you can benefit from a Collaborative resolution to your legal disputes. We look forward to hearing from you.