For courtroom lawyers, attorneys with well-honed trial skills, the idea of Collaborative Law and a Collaborative Divorce is at best challenging, if not downright discombobulating.
- Why would the parties agree to any condition that wouldn’t otherwise be consistent with or mandated under the NC divorce laws?
- Why would the respective parties in a terminal marriage do anything but protect their own, individual best interests?
- To collaborate means to build something. How is that possible when separation and divorce is the literal legal process of pulling apart a marriage?
- Why concede anything from the outset, understanding an impasse will result in finding another family law attorney for further representation and litigation?
The reason is simple: Litigation isn’t always the best option for you and your spouse. Duking it out in court can be both an emotional and expensive experience.
Our firm motto for divorce litigation is the Latin maxim: Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war.
“Collaborative law frankly confounds me at times. I come from a courtroom advocacy background. If I say, ‘we’ll see you in court,’ I mean it. Essentially gutting that option, from the outset, takes away some level of leverage in negotiating. But that isn’t always a bad thing.”
– Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
And yet, relative to divorce and divorce court, sometimes success is defined by the very intentional act of avoiding litigation through negotiation and compromise at almost any cost. That’s OK.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Collaborative law does not entirely limit your right to litigate a matter in court. The NC Collaborative Law Proceedings Law under N.C.G.S. Chapter 50-70 may be found here.
The terms and conditions of an agreement to proceed in such fashion must include a provision whereby the attorneys involved in the collaborative process are required to withdraw from representation if the dispute cannot be resolved through a Settlement Agreement.
You don’t have to decide whether to go the Collaborative Law approach right now. Part of our initial consultation with clients seeking legal representation for divorce in Charlotte involves giving options.
One of those options, which admittedly isn’t something we recommend in every instance, is a Collaborative Divorce. In the right set of circumstances and for certain people, it can be quite effective.What are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?
Put simply, Collaborative Law is a type of formalized agreement, whereby both parties agree to negotiate in lieu of litigation to resolve spousal support, PSS Post Separation Support, and visitation issues that may be traditional aspects of separation and divorce in NC.
It can be an efficient way to distribute marital assets and work through things like alimony, child custody, child support, and even Equitable Distribution or “ED.”
It can also end in tremendous failure and substantial additional costs in the event of an impasse. See the bolded area below.
Collaborative law only works if both spouses are truly willing to negotiate in good faith. It requires transparency, open, and full disclosure of all information, financial records, etc.
The parties in a Collaborative Divorce must embrace an overarching commitment to work together, constructively, towards a mutually beneficial agreement.
There are some important benefits under Article 4 of the Chapter 50: NC Collaborative Law Proceedings such as:
- Tolling of Statute of Limitations and Statutory Filing Requirements
- A Collaborative Law Settlement Agreement may be filed with the Court to effectuate its terms
- Collaborative proceedings may mandate ADR Alternative Dispute Resolution or Arbitration in the event of an impasse
- All information gathered as a result of the Collaborative Divorce process is confidential and may not be introduced in evidence in a later trial
- All work product and communications of experts and attorneys are deemed privileged and inadmissible (unless otherwise agreed-upon by the parties)
The point of a Collaborative Divorce is to avoid acrimony and hopefully the tremendous costs of protracted litigation.
That doesn't mean there isn’t a fair amount of negotiating in the collaborative process. Committing to collaborate takes dedication and a willingness to compromise.
“All the same legal issues still must be worked-through. It’s a process. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is unlikely to be reasonable, Collaborative Divorce probably isn’t a realistic way to go.”
– Bill Powers, Charlotte Collaborative Law Attorney
Contact us online or by telephone at 877-462-3841 to arrange an initial consultation at Powers Law Firm PA with Charlotte collaborative divorce attorney.FAQs
Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to traditional litigation regarding settling issues such as the distribution of marital assets, child custody, and support. Spouses and their respective divorce lawyers agree, in writing, to exercise good faith and best efforts to resolve disputes without judicial intervention.
Unlike other more adversarial approaches, a collaborative divorce takes a serious commitment to share all information openly, treat each other with respect and abstain from being combative.
At the outset of the case, the parties agree, along with their respective attorneys, to hold a series of structured meetings in an effort to work toward a final settlement.
In order to ensure that the attorneys involved on both sides have a vested interest in successfully reaching a resolution, the attorneys must withdraw from further representation if they fail to reach a settlement that is approved by both sides.
If a collaborative divorce is the best approach for your particular situation, the divorce attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA are prepared to help you through the process in hopes of reaching an agreement that best benefits you and avoids the long, drawn out process of a contested divorce.
Chapter § 50-70 of the NC Divorce, Child Support, and Alimony laws specifically authorizes Collaborative Law Proceedings. Absolute Divorce requires a Court Order.
The NC Divorce Laws refer to the Collaborative Process as an “alternative to judicial disposition of issues.” Collaborative Divorce provides legal protections without expensive traditional litigation and court battles. You and your spouse, not a Family Court Judge, decide what is best for you and your family.
Spouses and their divorce lawyers sign a contract called a Participation Agreement. The Collaborative Law Process includes negotiations with the respective family law attorneys and consultation with experts including financial planners, mental health professionals, and child specialists as may be appropriate.
Contact Our Charlotte Collaborative Divorce Attorneys Now
If you are looking for zealous representation on your behalf, contact the Charlotte, North Carolina Divorce Attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA! Call us today at 877-462-3841. You may reach Divorce Lawyer Bill Powers by email too. Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com