We understand that facing the legal system during a divorce can be an overwhelming prospect, with the thought of your personal life on display in a courtroom. That’s why our Divorce & Family Law attorneys at Smith Debnam are well-versed in alternative resolutions, including Mediation and the Collaborative Law Process.
What is the Collaborative Law Process?
Collaborative Law is a voluntary legal process designed for couples who have made the decision to separate and end their marriage. Our team of experienced lawyers is skilled in problem-solving techniques and will guide you through this process. Unlike traditional litigation, Collaborative Law allows you and your spouse to explore and discuss solutions to marital and parental issues in a less adversarial and more amicable environment. We believe in maintaining a friendly atmosphere throughout the process, bringing together like-minded attorney advocates, mental health professionals, and financial experts, if necessary, to achieve a fair and agreeable resolution on all issues.
The Collaborative Agreement
When you choose the Collaborative Law Process, both parties must be willing to retain lawyers who practice family law and commit to not participating in litigation. As part of this commitment, you will sign a written agreement with your collaborative lawyer stating that you will not pursue court litigation. If either party chooses to litigate, new lawyers will need to be retained. Embracing the Collaborative Law Process is crucial for a successful outcome, as it shifts the focus from a “win-lose” mindset to a “win-win” approach, allowing both parties to emerge from the process with a congenial relationship intact.
Benefits of the Collaborative Law Process
One of the most significant benefits of choosing Collaborative Law over litigation is the avoidance of a court battle, not only for the parties involved but also for their children and other family members. Testifying in family court can be a deliberate, strategic, stressful, and hurtful experience. Each court hearing is recorded, making the evidence (positive or negative) permanent. By opting for the collaborative process, you can spare yourself and your loved ones from the emotional turmoil that comes with litigation.
Moreover, the Collaborative Law Process can be much more cost-effective if both parties are committed to honesty, transparency, and good-faith negotiations. Our attorneys will facilitate the discussions, provide advice, and advocate for your best interests while maintaining a productive and professional environment. With decorum maintained, the process will flow smoothly and yield positive outcomes.
Detriments of the Collaborative Law Process
While the Collaborative Law Process offers many advantages, we recognize that it may not be suitable for every separating couple. The nature of separation and divorce often involves contention due to a lack of trust and commitment. In some cases, the process may become untenable due to newly discovered information or a lack of good-faith negotiations. Should this occur, the parties must start the process anew with new attorneys and retainer fees, as the initial collaborative agreement prohibits the current attorneys from engaging in litigation.
For the Collaborative Law Process to succeed, it requires a genuine commitment from both parties to honest and fair negotiations. It necessitates a willingness to find a resolution without the need for court intervention. We understand that not all couples can trust each other or agree on specific issues. Therefore, we acknowledge that Collaborative Law may not be the right choice for everyone.
In summary, the Collaborative Law Process is a recognized and effective alternative to litigation in North Carolina. At Smith Debnam Attorneys at Law, we offer you an alternative path to resolving your divorce with dignity and respect. If you are interested in exploring this option, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the process and discuss it with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. Together, we can help you choose the appropriate path to resolution