Is Collaborative Divorce the Right Option for You?

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Mediation GroupCollaborative divorce is a relatively new option for divorcing couples to participate with their respective attorneys to negotiate and agree upon a resolution to all of the issues facing the couple without court involvement. Once the parties commit to the collaborative process, the parties sign a participation agreement in which all parties agree to work toward a common resolution to the marital discord. By participating in a collaborative divorce, the parties are empowered to make decisions based on their own needs and interest, yet they still have the ability to receive legal advice and professional support from their respective attorneys. It is the hope of the parties that by amicably working together to resolve their disputes, the parties may change the way they can relate to one another in the future. Another goal of collaborative law is to improve communication between the parties. Often the attorneys will bring in collaborative “divorce” coaches to assist the parties in improving their skills. Collaborative divorce encourages the parties to come to a peaceful resolution and promotes civility in the face of adversity.

How the Process Works

Each party in the divorce shall have their own collaborative law trained attorney. Thereafter, all parties shall engage in a series of meetings to negotiation and resolve all outstanding issues facing the divorce couple. These meetings provide both parties and their attorneys an opportunity to resolve all issues facing the divorced couple without court oversight.

How is Collaborative Divorce Different from Adversarial Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is significantly cheaper than a traditional adversarial divorce.  Most attorneys who practice collaborative law find that it can be more cost effective than a traditional divorce. In a traditional divorce experienced matrimonial lawyers/divorce lawyers in Monmouth and Ocean Counties would request anywhere from $5,000 to $7,500 for an initial retainer. Attorneys who practice in a collaborative arena typically request ½ as much for a retainer for a collaborative divorce. Additionally, The parties work together to amicably settle the couples’ differences without court involvement or adversarial positions. Clients and lawyers are motivated to achieve a settlement. The process also decreases the likelihood of post-marriage conflict and defines divorce as a series of decisions to be made, not necessarily a dispute.

What Happens if the Parties Can’t Agree?

The parties can file for divorce with the court if they are not able to come to a resolution during their collaborative divorce meetings. However, if the collaboration is not successful and a divorce action is pursued in Court, the couple must obtain new counsel for their divorce.  In collaborative law, attorneys sign a disqualification agreement which indicates that if either party seeks to file an application with the Court during the collaborative process, the attorneys must cease any and all involvement with the case. The disqualification agreement allows the lawyers to be focused on an agreeable resolve without the threat of court intervention.

Collaborative Divorce Attorneys Serving Ocean & Monmouth Counties

If you are interested in obtaining a collaborative divorce, please contact partner Vincent C. DeLuca. Mr. DeLuca is a collaborative trained lawyer, who is the past President of the Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group. Villani & DeLuca, P.C. has offices conveniently located in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Please call today for your free initial consultation at 732-965-3350.