Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Should I Use Collaborative Law in an Uncontested Divorce?

First, we need to understand what an "Uncontested Divorce" really is.  There are two common definitions which reflect different points of view.

 A party to the divorce may say that the spouses have agreed to have an uncontested divorce. That usually means that the parties both want, or at least will agree, to be divorced.  Very often, though, there is no agreement on the terms of the divorce.

For a lawyer, an uncontested divorce is one where the parties both agree to be divorced and they agree on all the terms of the divorce.  That means that they have agreed on custody, child support, visitation, property division, payment of debts, the possibility of spousal support or not,  tax issues and any other matters.  If any of those issues have not been agreed upon, it is not an uncontested divorce, according to the lawyers.

The Answer:

If your situation is the second example and everything already is agreed, you don't really need to use the Collaborative process.  If all terms have already been worked out, then you don't need to spend the money on a team of professionals to go over the agreement.  

On the other hand, if one or more of the issues remain in negotiation, then it may be worthwhile to use Collaborative Law.  If you both want to get divorced, but can't agree on some issues, that's a good situation for the use of Collaborative Law.

Alternative Situation:

If one person wants the divorce and the other doesn't, Collaborative Law may be a very good means to work things out.  Keep in mind that if one person wants a divorce and the other party doesn't, eventually a court will grant the divorce. Collaborative Law would be a good alternative because it is less destructive than litigation on family relationships and it can lead to mutually agreeable solutions.

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