If you know that your marriage is over, but you don’t want a long and nasty divorce proceeding, you may want to consider a relatively new legal process—the collaborative divorce process. Here’s how it works.
In the collaborative divorce process, both parties retain their own legal counsel. However, instead of using the traditional process, where counsel may use any means to further the interest of his or her own client, both the parties and their attorneys agree in advance that all matters will be resolved without the intervention of the court. Accordingly, the parties and their attorneys are encouraged to identify and implement cooperative solutions.
To accomplish this objective, it’s common for the parties to bring in outside experts for guidance. For example, to identify the most appropriate custody and visitation arrangements, the parties may turn to child psychologists or counselors, who may meet with children and parents, assess needs and skills, and make a recommendation. With respect to property distribution, the parties often hire financial planners or consultants to determine how the parties can fairly allocate debts and assets.
If the parties successfully resolve all matters without the intervention of the court, an order is typically drawn up and submitted to the court, to be signed by the judge. However, if the parties run into any insurmountable hurdles and must ask the court for guidance, each party must hire new legal counsel for any further representation.
The collaborative process offers a number of potential benefits. Because it avoids a lot of the typical pre-trial discovery, it can be less expensive and can be resolved more quickly than through the traditional divorce process. In addition, if the parties successfully complete the collaborative process, it can have significant benefits when dealing with any minor children.
At the office of Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates, we have more than 25 years of family law experience. We’ll help you stay focused on what matters. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney, contact our office online or call us at 215-886-1266.