A collaborative divorce is an alternative to divorce court or mediation, and actually falls somewhere in between. This method of marriage dissolution allows you and your spouse to negotiate on issues like child custody, alimony and property distribution with the legal assistance of experienced collaborative attorneys. You and your spouse each retain an attorney educated in collaborative divorce law. Your attorneys advise you separately and individually, and you all four have joint meetings as well, to negotiate the terms of your divorce.
Collaborative Divorce Contract
All parties agree or pledge to resolve their legal issues without going to court. If this becomes unworkable, your lawyers will no longer represent you in the resulting divorce litigation. You and your spouse must agree to voluntarily disclose all relevant information, make good faith efforts to negotiate, and refrain from threatening each other with court.
Other professionals may be included in the collaborative process to help achieve successful negotiation of your divorce agreement. These include mental health professionals to teach you helpful communication skills, to assist you in handling emotional issues, coach you in making decisions with your child’s best interest in mind, and help you recognize the benefit of trust-building. Financial professionals may be consulted for budgeting and finance strategies, and custody evaluators help design custody arrangements and parenting plans that most effectively meet the needs of your family.
Collaborative Law and New Jersey
There are no New Jersey statutes or rules addressing collaborative law. The Uniform Law Commission established the Uniform Collaborative Law Act in 2009 to regulate and standardize the practice of collaborative law throughout the U.S. The NJ Law Revision Commission most recently presented the UCLA in February 2013, but to date, New Jersey has not adopted the act.
The goal of collaborative divorce is to minimize the adversarial nature of this matter through communication and cooperation. The focus is on you and your spouse maintaining control of the process with the assistance and guidance of legal professionals. You may use collaborative divorce for the entire process or simply to negotiate some of the more difficult aspects of your divorce settlement, provided you are able to complete your divorce without litigation.
With years of experience our firm is dedicated to helping families through this difficult time. Contact our New Jersey Divorce Lawyers today by calling (973) 920-7888.