Atkinson & Kelsey, P.A.
Local:505-796-6238 Toll-Free:888-350-5903
Map & Directions Menu

Collaborative divorce is another option

Couples in New Mexico have several options to end their marriage through divorce. They can go to court, engage in divorce mediation or take part in a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, spouses enter a contract where they agree to resolve divorce issues through negotiation instead of litigation.

Collaborative divorce is an outgrowth of mediation. In mediation, however, a mediator may have problems with recommending a fair settlement because the spouses are not equally matched as negotiators or if a party is upset or refuses to negotiate.

Separate attorneys represent each spouse in a collaborative divorce. The spouses agree that the attorneys will be removed, unable to represent them and disqualified as witnesses if the process is unsuccessful.

These rules lead to a productive and innovative process where the spouses and their attorneys look for workable solutions for both parties. Privacy remains intact. Financial affidavits and other information can stay confidential and allegations may not be publicly aired as in a court proceeding. Information is analyzed in an unrushed and cooperative process.

Spouses must disclose assets, income and other similar information. A collaborative agreement may be dissolved if a spouse withholds this information. This transparency and cooperation encourages settlements that require requests for post-judgment court enforcement.

Accountants, actuaries and therapist may be invited to take part in this process. Their work does not have to be duplicated by each spouse when they take part in litigation. These experts can help expedite decisions on parenting plans, valuation of assets, tax matters and complicated property division.

This process may also be more expeditious. During litigated divorce, settlements often occur on the eve of the case to avoid the uncertainty of the judge's rulings. However, the spouse probably spent time and money while engaged in an acrimonious dispute before reaching this last-minute agreement.

Lawyers engage in this process must have special training because they take different approaches than litigated divorce. They can help draft a settlement that encourages problem solving and which is fair and reasonable for the entire family.

Source: The Day, "A collaborative approach to divorce," By Linda L. Mariani, Oct. 29, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information