A collaborative divorce offers a mutually beneficial approach to divorce proceedings. Rather than feeding the fire by arguing in court, divorcing couples have the opportunity to amicably settle disputes and distribute assets fairly without the need of the courts.
The proceedings begin with the divorcing couple and their respective lawyers signing an agreement to negotiate the terms of the divorce without going to court. Sometimes experts such as financial advisors or child psychologists will be involved to assist the process. The main focuses of the proceedings are to:
- Identify interests and assets
- Generate options for dividing assets
- Encourage the divorcing couple to see the situation from the other party’s point of view
- Reality-test a range of possible outcomes
Collaborative Divorce Limitations
The option of a collaborative divorce allows couples to not only avoid courts but also resolve their issues amicably in order to preserve a healthy relationship, which is important, especially when children are involved. However, although this may seem like the perfect solution for your divorce, it does potentially have its downsides, such as the following:
- Potential cost. Although legal fees may be decreased as a result of not having to go to court, if the collaborative process breaks down or a resolution cannot be made, you’ll need to seek new counsel (and a new legal fee). As a result, the added cost of the failed collaboration may be too much to risk.
- Dependency on trust. In order for a collaborative divorce to work, you must be able to trust that your ex is providing complete documentation and not withholding any pertinent assets. If you truly believe that your ex will remain honest throughout the process, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if he does withhold information and you don’t discover it until after the completion of the divorce, there is nothing you can do about it.
- Unfulfilled FDR requirement. In order to finalise a divorce, Western Australia laws require that you attend Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). Although a collaborative divorce is a dispute resolution of sorts, collaborative lawyers cannot issue the required certificate. Therefore, you’ll still need to obtain a FDR certification from a registered practitioner.
For more information, or to see how the benefits of a collaborative divorce outweigh the limitations, please feel free to browse our gallery of informative articles. For more personal information, contact us directly and we’ll be happy to discuss the best divorce options for your situation.