What is Collaborative Divorce in California?

Divorces can always be enormously emotional and, at times, hostile events that disrupt your family, work life, and more. However, if you are in a situation where you and your spouse can communicate, collaborative divorce may be a viable option.

Collaborative divorce is commonly a combination of mediation and litigation alternatives but only has a chance to succeed if you and your spouse willingly and openly participate in the proceedings.

During this collaborative process, you and your spouse will attend a series of meetings to attempt to reach sound agreements that are in the best interest of all pertinent family members involved. This collaborative dissolution process allows you to have more control over all the decision-making involved and make these decisions rationally and cooperatively.

It provides a viable alternative to straightforward litigation and keeps all critical decisions in your hands and not in the hands of the judge.

In a collaborative divorce, your skilled, knowledgeable, and detailed divorce lawyer will still advise and guide you during the process but pledges not to litigate or threaten to litigate the matter. 

Both your and your spouse’s lawyer must agree to this. Still, If this collaborative process is not successful, these same attorneys cannot be involved in any new litigation that may be necessary.

It is essentially a more “civilized” legal path to reach agreements on critical issues involved in your divorce, such as child custody, alimony, asset division, and more. This “collaborative law process” is thoroughly outlined in California’s Family Code Section 2013.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Actually Work?

The first thing both spouses must agree on in pursuing a collaborative divorce is that while the process is ongoing, neither party will seek or threaten to pursue litigation.

Both spouses, their lawyers (and others who may be involved) work diligently and cooperatively towards an agreement in everyone’s best interest. The primary step is to discuss this alternative with your spouse and determine if they are amenable to it. From then on, your skilled collaborative lawyer will set up the process.

If it’s required, your lawyer will assist in hiring whoever is needed on your team to assist in the collaborative process. Depending on your unique situation, your team could include (other than your lawyer) a psychologist (who is there to help), a financial specialist or accountant (for discussion on the assets, etc.), and possibly more.

Your skilled lawyer and these experts will all work to exempt the children from this legal process and work out a settlement in the best interests of all concerned.

You must note that no court will be involved; however, both spouses must be open to providing complete disclosure so that nothing is hidden or left out in the collaborative process.

This may sound daunting, but your skilled Fresno collaborative divorce lawyer will guide you through the process.

What Are Some Pros and Cons of a Collaborative Divorce?

You might ask, “Is the collaborative divorce process right for me;” there are pros and cons.

You should know that the California courts encourage divorcing couples to utilize collaborative divorce. This process makes the divorce experience less contentious, much more amicable, less expensive, and quicker.

However, it’s critical that you and your spouse can negotiate openly and in good faith. If this can be accomplished, then your entire divorce may be quicker and significantly less stressful than using the California courts.

Remember that the professionals you bring in and their knowledge will work to help formulate the best outcome for you and do so objectively.

However, we know that only some divorces and situations fit the collaborative process. The main criteria for collaborative divorce is that all parties can discuss and negotiate in good faith;  this cannot be done in all divorces.

Also, getting the experts needed can be costly but usually much less expensive than litigating your divorce in the courts.

One of the only significant problems with collaborative divorce is that if it fails, you must start over from scratch (including getting a new lawyer). So, although this process commonly works well, discussing your unique divorce concerns and issues upfront with your empathetic and knowledgeable Fresno divorce lawyer is mandatory.

Why Should I Consider a Collaborative Divorce?

A contested divorce is commonly extremely costly, highly stressful, emotional, and almost always detrimental to you and your children.  

If children aren’t involved, and no matter if your spouses or domestic partners, the arguments (and possibly lack of knowledge of the subjects) over the division of assets, debt, and more will commonly generate intense negativity and ongoing contention.

Whenever the courts are involved, and worse, if they start making decisions for you, the process can always get drawn out and end up with possibly bad decisions that could affect the rest of your life.

Therefore, in a collaborative divorce, you can almost always ensure that you and your spouse make the decisions and that you have final control over your destiny and future.

Adversarial judicial intervention should always be the path of last resort, and the collaborative process gives you a way to do that.  

A busy California Judge may wish to help but need more time to understand your needs fully.

Also, if the courts are used, any negative or vicious things you disclose about each become a part of the public record for all to see.

So, the details and possibility of pursuing a collaborative divorce should always be discussed with your skilled and thorough Fresno divorce lawyer, who always has your best interests in mind.

I Need More Information on the Collaborative Divorce Process; How Should I Proceed?

Getting a divorce is always challenging for anyone, and having your life, feelings, finances, and more dragged through the California courts can be horrifying. By utilizing the alternative of a collaborative divorce, you could get through this experience with significantly less emotional damage and possibly a much more reasonable, fair, and sustainable path to move on with your life.

The experienced, empathetic, and aggressive divorce lawyers at the Bains Law Offices can answer all your questions about the collaborative divorce process. Then you will honestly know if it’s right for you. Call them today at (559) 282-8924, and their skilled, professional, and personal help will get you through this enormously difficult time of your life.