A divorce could be one of the most stressful times of your life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Through a collaborative divorce, the two spouses work with their own attorneys. They work together to create an agreement allowing both parties to start their lives over through a fair divorce resolution without the cost in time, energy, money, anger and grief that can come with a heated, confrontational divorce. Most Indiana divorce disputes are resolved through an agreement, not a trial, and a collaborative divorce gives the parties a path of least resistance to an agreement.
Have you and your spouse decided to part ways, but there is still good faith between the two of you and not too much spite or anger? Do you have children and you are both on the same page (or close to it) as to who should have what rights and responsibilities toward child rearing? Are the two of you on equal footing, or near it, as far as your income and past financial contributions to the household, and are you amenable to a fair agreement on financial issues? If so, a collaborative divorce process may be a good choice for you.
The Indiana Collaborative Divorce Process
You and your spouse meets separately with your own attorney, and the four of you meet regularly to work out your differences. Other professionals may be involved, including child custody specialists and accountants, whose goals are to help you resolve your differences without litigation.
Normally both spouses and their attorneys sign an agreement that the attorneys will withdraw from the case if the case must go to court because the issues can’t be resolved.
Even if the process is successful, there needs to be some involvement with the court to effect a divorce. Through a collaborative divorce, you can keep that contact brief, manageable and at a much lower cost. After an agreement on all the financial and child responsibility issues, the involvement of the legal system is a simple, uncontested procedure that doesn’t involve a trial, hearings or pretrial issues.
How the Indiana Collaborative Divorce Process Can Help You, Your Spouse and Your Children
The collaborative process can substantially reduce the anger, frustration and expense in money, time and effort that can come with a traditional divorce, while providing you an outcome that can be at least as positive as what you might achieve through a courtroom battle. You and your spouse could benefit in many ways:
- Stabilize your situation through a temporary agreement
- Exchange all needed information voluntarily without resorting to court filings
- Agree on legal procedures to reduce costs and delay by streamlining the divorce process
- Negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement that works for you and your children
- Agree on how any post-divorce issues will be addressed.
Why the Indiana Collaborative Divorce Process May Be Right for You and Your Spouse
There are many reasons to avoid the traditional, confrontational divorce process.
- Each side has more control over the outcome. Your opinions and viewpoints will be heard and taken into account when putting an agreement together. The spouses agree to reach a settlement based on compromise, good faith and fair play instead of having a judge make decisions that will affect them and their children.
- The process is normally less expensive than litigation. Attorney fees and court costs in a contested divorce can quickly add up to substantial amounts of money.
- The process consumes less time than litigation. The parties and their attorneys decide the meeting time and place instead of having to accommodate overwhelmed court calendars.
- There can be much less stress and anxiety because the parties are playing a more active role and retaining more control of the divorce process.
- If the process is successful, there is the satisfaction of not only saving money, time and energy but also being mature enough to work together to reach an agreement that will make life easier for all those involved. This joint action can be especially important if there are children in the family.
The collaborative process is not the right choice for all divorcing couples. For many it may be worth a try, because even if all disputed issues aren’t resolved and the process isn’t completed, the disputes could be reduced, leading to a quicker, less confrontational litigation process.
Whether you’ve already decided to get divorced, or you just want to know your options, we can walk you through it. You need to know what to expect, how long it will take, and who will support you, and McNeely Stephenson has the answers. We do not charge for the initial consultation. We can explain the process and answer your most urgent questions, preparing you for the big decisions. Call us for an appointment.