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How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

Many couples opt for collaborative divorce versus litigation to save money and reduce the stress that can arise in a traditional courtroom divorce. Sometimes, courts even require couples to try alternative dispute resolution options such as mediation prior to litigating their divorces. Whether you are required to try a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or not, understanding how collaborative divorce works can help you make productive decisions about how to handle your divorce.

The Court is Not Involved

The first thing you will notice about collaborative divorce is that it takes place entirely outside the courtroom. For most couples considering collaborative divorce, that is the biggest bonus. However, this does not mean you and your spouse will not have professional guidance.

Third party professionals can also be part of your collaborative divorce. Depending on your specific needs, these professionals can include a financial advisor, a small business evaluator, a mental health counselor, or a collaborative child specialist. These individuals are tasked with making the divorce process more fair for you and your spouse, and their input can help you reach a divorce settlement that suits your needs and complies with Virginia law.

You and Your Lawyer Work Together

How does this process work?  You and your spouse retain your own lawyers to work through the collaborative divorce process. Your lawyer’s job is to inform you of your rights and the law, promote your interests, and negotiate with your spouse’s lawyer effectively to pursue your interests and protect your rights. Before meeting with your spouse and his or her lawyer, you will meet with your lawyer privately to discuss your divorce goals and the realities of your case.  However, unlike litigation or typical divorce negotiations, the goal is to work as a team.

Four-Way Meetings

You and your lawyer will attend meetings with your spouse and his or her lawyer to work out your divorce settlement’s details. During these meetings, you will go over how you will divide your marital assets and any other issues germane to your divorce, like your child custody arrangement.

If you cannot reach agreements on your divorce settlement’s terms through these discussions, you might need to work with other collaborative professional third parties who takes an active role in directing divorce negotiations. 

Cooperating and Communication are Key

Collaborative divorce does not work when the parties are not willing to work together. Similarly, they cannot work when the parties cannot trust each other. Your collaborative divorce success is  dependent on your willingness to be flexible about your divorce goals and work with your spouse toward an appropriate settlement, rather than working against him or her in pursuit of your own goals.

Work with an Experienced Dulles Divorce Lawyer

No matter how you divorce, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced divorce lawyer. However, it may also be helpful to work with experienced divorce lawyers who are trained in collaborative divorce. The benefit of having someone collaboratively trained is that they can offer additional options for your case that other attorney’s may not be able to provide. Start working with an experienced divorce lawyer from Roop Xanttopoulos Babounakis & Klam, PLLC today to begin developing your case and learning more about your rights through the divorce process. Contact our office today to schedule your legal consultation with us.

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