Divorce is a challenging time for any family. If you would prefer a divorce that lets you and your spouse respectfully unwind your marriage while reducing the stress on your family, collaborative family law may be the right choice for your Alaska family law matter.
Collaborative divorce is an out-of-court process in which the divorcing parties, not a judge, make the decisions about the terms of their divorce. Many other family law disputes, such as custody or child support issues, can also be resolved by the collaborative dispute resolution process. Each party is represented by an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative process. Other professionals, such as financial professionals, bring their particular expertise to assisting the team. Together with their attorneys and allied professionals, the parties meet to identify their interests and needs. This client-centered, client-driven team then works together to resolve issues in ways that meet the needs of all family members.
Litigated divorce, by its nature, pits one divorcing party against the other. It is stressful, expensive, and often increases hostility between the parties. The collaborative model, with its emphasis on reaching resolution as a team, often reduces expense by eliminating the barrage of discovery requests, court filings, and appearances. The team approach also reduces stress by leaving control in the hands of the people who best understand the family’s needs—the divorcing parties. When the parties work together to resolve issues, hostility and anger are reduced. This not only makes the divorce easier, but sets the stage for easier co-parenting in the years following the divorce. In addition, unlike arguments in open court, or court files which may be accessible to the public, negotiation in collaborative divorce is completely confidential.
All participants, including attorneys and other professionals, sign an agreement detailing the terms of the collaboration, including an agreement not to seek or threaten court intervention. The participants agree to negotiate in good faith, to remain flexible and open to others’ ideas, to disclose all relevant information, and to communicate respectfully. Because collaborative divorce offers parties so much more control over the divorce process than litigation, it also requires greater commitment on their part. Like anything custom-made, however, a divorce carefully crafted to address your family’s needs is more likely to give you a good outcome.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of collaborative family law, we invite you to contact Mendel Colbert & Associates, Inc. online or at (907) 279-5001 to schedule a consultation.