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Collaborative divorce in New York: A primer

Considering a divorce? The process has changed from what it once was. Long gone are the days when there was only one option for those who are thinking of divorce. Although the traditional litigation route is still available, alternative means also exist that may work better for some couples.

One option is collaborative divorce.

What is collaborative divorce? Instead of heading to courtroom to air out your family disputes and having the court involved in determining the final divorce settlement agreement, the collaborative divorce process allows the couple to have control over the negotiations.

How does collaborative divorce work? Couples that choose this path each hire their own legal representation. These lawyers each represent their client to help better ensure his or her needs are met during the negotiations.

However, everyone involved in the collaborative divorce process has taken a pledge to come to a resolution through the collaborative approach and not to litigate. This pledge is designed to help better ensure that the negotiations are not only honest and in good-faith, but also cordial.

Why should I consider collaborative divorce? There are a number of benefits to the collaborative process. In addition to increasing the odds of a less adversarial proceeding, other benefits often include:

  • Less time. The collaborative process caters to the couple's schedule, not the court calendar. The couple does not need to follow the court calendar to move forward with the divorce process. As a result, collaborative divorces generally take less time than the traditional litigation process.
  • Confidentiality. Meetings taking place with the collaborative team are confidential. Information shared in these meetings does not become public, which is generally not guaranteed during courtroom cases.
  • Less expense. A publication by the New York State Unified Court System notes that the collaborative law process generally costs one-tenth to one-twentieth the amount of a traditional divorce.

Whether choosing collaborative divorce or another form, it is always wise to seek legal counsel when going through a divorce. Divorce is a complex process that navigates a number of legal issues. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer to help better ensure your interests are protected.

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