Our family law attorney at the Law Office of James Tyler Brooks can assist you in resolving your divorce-related issues through the collaborative law process. Collaborative law is a method whereby divorcing spouses and their attorneys agree to work together to resolve all divorce related issues (spousal support, child custody, child support, and property division) in a non-adversarial environment. North Carolina General Statute § 50-70 recognizes collaborative law as an alternative to resolving divorce related issues in court. The goal of the collaborative law process is to negotiate a separation agreement on all issues without litigation or the threat of litigation. This non-adversarial approach to divorce can decrease the stress that the divorcing spouses and their children experience in less amicable divorce settings.
Because the collaborative law process can be such an effective means of settling divorce-related issues while minimizing the emotional impact on our clients and families, our law office welcomes the opportunity to serve our clients in this capacity whenever possible. Non-adversarial environments facilitate clear, rational thinking to move families forward.
Basics of Collaborative Law
A collaborative law agreement must be in writing and signed by all the parties to the agreement, as well as their respective attorneys, and must include provisions for the withdrawal of all attorneys involved in the collaborative law procedure if the collaborative law procedure does not result in a settlement of the divorce-related issues.
Principles of Collaborative Law
- Issues are resolved without court intervention.
- The parties voluntarily share all information.
- Consultants are retained jointly to provide unbiased opinions. All attorneys, therapists, accountants, appraisers and consultants cooperate with one another while assisting the parties in the resolution of the family’s issues.
- When disputes involve children, the parties, their attorneys, and therapists commit to reaching amicable solutions that promote the children’s best interests.
- The parties agree that legal representation is limited to the collaborative law process, and that neither of their respective attorneys may represent them in any court proceeding against the other party.
Potential Cost Saving Benefits of Collaborative Law
The collaborative approach to divorce has the potential to save the parties substantial legal fees. This process eliminates the time that attorneys typically spend drafting pleadings, making motions, attending depositions and court hearings—thus causing considerably fewer billable hours. With collaborative law, attorneys spend their time on a less expensive settlement process.
Risk Associated with Collaborative Law
What if the collaborative law process breaks down? One risk associated with collaborative law is that the parties may reach an impasse. If one party decides that the collaborative process is not working in his or her best interests, he or she may choose to end the process altogether. If the collaborative law process breaks down, both collaborative attorneys must withdraw from representation. The parties must then retain altogether new and separate counsel. In this scenario, the collaborative process could end up being more expensive than the traditional divorce process, since the parties must ultimately, in effect, pay to try both strategies.