What Will the Role of My Attorney Be in a Collaborative Divorce?

As this blog has discussed before, collaborative divorce is an alternative to a traditional divorce or legal separation. In a conventional divorce, ultimately, a couple is willing to allow a judge to decide how they should divide their property and spend time with their children.

In a collaborative divorce, the couple makes an agreement from the outset that they are not planning to go to court except, of course, to formally finalize their uncontested divorce or separation. In other words, they commit to resolving all of their issues between themselves or, at most, with the help of a mediator or other professionals.

While either party is free to cut off negotiations, in such a case, both sides will have to hire new attorneys who are willing to take the case in front of a judge. This frees an attorney participating in the negotiations from having also to advocate for his or her client's interests in the courtroom.

An attorney, however, still has an important role in a collaborative divorce. For one, he or she will still offer legal advice about the divorce generally and about the collaborative negotiation in particular. He or she will still make sure that the client understands both the law and the client's legal options.

The attorney may also help the client evaluate the side's negotiation position and strategy and may assist the client with setting a bottom line on various issues.

Finally, if the process works and the couple reaches an agreement, an attorney will help with the drafting of the agreement so that the written decree both clearly and accurately reflects the negotiations and is legally valid.

While the idea behind collaborative law is to save money, time, and stress by settling a divorce outside of court, this does not mean that a resident of the greater Denver area should go at it alone. Getting the advice of a Colorado family law attorney with experience in and commitment to the collaborative process is an important step.

Tags: Collaborative Law

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