Most people think that getting a divorce is bound to be a contentious, emotional, and hate-filled process. Indeed, this is certainly the picture that media and television like to paint. But while divorce is definitely challenging, it doesn’t have to be divisive. In fact, with a collaborative divorce and family law attorney on your side, you and your spouse can avoid litigation and work together to resolve tough issues. Here’s what you need to know about collaborative divorce in Massachusetts–
What Is a Collaborative Divorce?
In a traditional divorce, issues in the divorce will be addressed through mediation and, if mediation fails, litigation. Litigation can be costly, emotional, and stressful, as the outcome of litigation is impossible to correctly predict 100 percent of the time.
In a collaborative divorce, on the other hand, both parties agree upfront to not litigate the divorce; if the case does end up in litigation, each party’s collaborative divorce lawyer agrees to not participate. Parties will also sign a collaborative divorce participation agreement, which may contain provisions about how both parties will not ask a court to resolve a dispute, that both parties agree to prioritize communication and compromise, and more.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Collaborative Law
There are some major advantages to a collaborative divorce, but also some downsides, too. Some of the advantages include:
- You and your spouse may be more incentivized to work on solving problems by removing the potential of litigation;
- Collaborative divorce can help to mitigate conflict, which can be especially important if there are children involved;
- Collaborative divorce is 100 percent private (litigation is public); and
- Collaborative divorce puts the power in your hands, unlike litigation which puts the final outcome in the hands of a family law judge.
There are also a few disadvantages of a collaborative divorce, including that both parties may not agree to pursue a collaborative divorce, one party may withdraw from the collaborative process at any point, and, ultimately, collaborative divorce may not be an effective means of solving issues in the divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions About Collaborative Law
At the office of Heather Ward Law, our experienced family law attorney has received many questions about collaborative law over the years. Some of these include:
- Is a collaborative divorce expensive? No divorce is expense-free, and divorces that are contested are especially costly. Collaborative divorce can range in cost depending on lawyers’ fees, the amount of time it takes to settle, and whether or not litigation is ultimately inevitable.
- My spouse isn’t collaborating–can I leave the process? Yes–collaborative law is voluntary, and either party can exit the process at any time and proceed with a traditional divorce.
- Do I need an attorney? Working with an attorney who represents you throughout the process is a key part of a collaborative divorce.
Call Our Collaborative Divorce and Family Law Attorney Today
At the office of Heather Ward Law, Attorney Heather M. Ward has served as counsel in numerous collaborative divorce cases over the years and is available to advise and represent you. To learn more, call her today at (617) 903-8955 or send our law firm a message directly.