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Collaborative law may be an option for an amicable split

When a person in Gig Harbor faces the fact that his or her marriage is over, he or she heads down the road towards divorce. For some people, this road is rocky, with much anger and a winner-takes-all attitude, all of which is costly, both financially and emotionally. For other people, this road can be smoother if that person and his or her ex are both interested in seeking an alternative to litigation -- a collaborative divorce.

What is collaborative law? It is a process in which spouses utilize alternative dispute resolution processes to settle their divorce issues, rather than litigation. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has his or her own attorney. Each spouse will have a private meeting with his or her attorney to communicate what he or she wants out of the collaborative divorce process and what he or she is willing to compromise on. Each spouse and his or her attorney will sign a "no court" agreement. This means that if the collaborative divorce process fails, and the spouses' divorce must be litigated, the attorneys will withdraw from the case.

After this, regular "four-way" meetings will take place involving each spouse and his or her own attorney, to hash out the details of the divorce. Sometimes, neutral third party professionals will be called in for advice, such as financial specialists or child custody specialists. If the spouses are having a hard time coming to an agreement, they may even utilize the services of a mediator.

Once the spouses have reached an agreement on all their divorce legal issues, they still must go to court to have their settlement agreement made enforceable and to complete the divorce process. Usually, since the spouses reached their agreement through collaborative law, their divorce will be uncontested.

Collaborative law may be an option for couples who no longer want to be married, but still want to part ways in a cordial if not positive manner. It can possibly save couples time, money and perhaps heartache compared to litigation. Moreover, by working together to come to an agreement, spouses may in the end walk away from the divorce feeling that the process and outcome were fair.

Source: FindLaw.com, "How Collaborative Divorce Works: FAQs," accessed on Sept. 11, 2016

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