Avoiding court during your divorce can help you save time and money. One alternative dispute resolution option that often helps couples manage this is collaborative divorce.
Before you decide to use collaborative divorce, you should know that, according to FindLaw, you must sign an agreement that states you will not take the case to litigation.
How the collaborative process works
You and your attorney will work closely with your spouse and his or her attorney to iron out the details of your divorce. This gives the attorneys the opportunity to become familiar with the nuances of your case and the relationship between you and your spouse as they use dispute resolution tactics to negotiate matters such as property division, custody, support and more.
Why the agreement is important
The collaboration agreement is binding in the sense that breaking it has consequences. If you cannot come to a compromise on all aspects and decide to take the case to court, your attorney can no longer represent you. You must start over with new representation.
What happens if you break the agreement
Starting over adds time, and going through the court process adds even more. Court dockets are often busy, so it could be quite a while before you can get into the courtroom. Once you do finally bring your case before the judge, he or she will make all the decisions you and your spouse could not. Giving that power to someone else may or may not be worse for you than if you had compromised. It will be out of your control.
You may want to avoid collaborative divorce if you feel you and your spouse cannot work well together. It is important that you reach an agreement on all points to avoid the issue of losing your attorney and facing litigation.