To Divorce During the Pandemic: Be Collaborative
Collaborative Divorce Attorneys During the Pandemic Brick and Sea Girt NJ
Collaborative Divorce is a more amicable approach to divorce and is usually a less expensive option.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused all of us to endure challenges and change. And people who feel they must divorce their spouse or partner are faced with unique challenges because of the pandemic.
One is that the family courts in New Jersey are operating remotely or in a minimal number of socially-distanced, in-person proceedings. The courts are largely hearing only the most urgent matters, using Zoom or telephone conferencing.
There is an alternative to the usual divorce litigation that works well in the present circumstances—and will in the future. It’s known as Collaborative Divorce. This is a more amicable approach to divorce and is usually a less expensive option.
This process works when spouses are able to work out an agreement, sometimes with the support of attorneys, mediators, and other divorce professionals. It’s a “team” approach instead of a “battle of the experts” approach, which is what traditional divorce litigation often ends up being.
We find that divorcing couples generally fall into one of three groups. There are the couples who hire attorneys representing opposite sides, with everyone trying to get everything they can possibly get.
Then there are the people who think they can agree on dividing property and sharing custody who might only need help to prepare the legal paperwork to finalize the divorce.
We find that many couples fall in the middle and need the help of a mediator to come to a final settlement. Collaborative Divorce is a benefit to all concerned. It can keep you out of a high-conflict, high-stress situation,
In Collaborative Divorce, both parties must hire attorneys that have been trained specifically in Collaborative Divorce. Each party meets separately with his or her own attorney, but the four people also meet regularly.
Typically, both spouses and their attorneys sign an agreement that the attorneys will withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and the spouses decide to go to court. Most Collaborative Divorce attorneys do not go on to represent the people they’ve worked with in court. Spouses will have to find new attorneys, who are likely to be more adversarial.
Who Else Can Participate in a Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce might also involve participants who are not attorneys but who are experts in their fields, who can provide helpful insights in their area of expertise. These experts might include:
- A divorce coach
- A child custody expert
- A neutral financial expert, like an accountant
- A mortgage expert.
After the Collaborative Attorneys have been hired, they, in turn, will choose a Divorce Coach, who is a mental health professional and who will help everyone navigate the process. Both parties meet with the Divorce Coach, either separately or together, prior to the first meeting with the attorneys in order for the Divorce Coach to gather information as to family background and dynamics. Then it’s the Divorce Coach’s job to recognize any potential issues during the Collaborative meetings. All these meetings can be held virtually.
After the parties meet with the Divorce Coach, the first Collaborative team meeting is held. There, the parties review and sign a written participation agreement in which they agree not to go to court to resolve their issues. Instead, the parties, and their attorneys, and any other professionals deemed necessary, hold a series of meetings to resolve all their issues. Once an agreement is reached, the attorneys then apply to the court for the final dissolution of the marriage.
What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?
Collaboration can reduce the conflict and expense of divorce in five ways. You and your spouse can:
- Stabilize your situation by means of a temporary agreement.
- Have the opportunity to exchange all necessary information voluntarily.
- Agree on ways to cut down legal expenses and simplify the process.
- Negotiate a settlement that works for you both.
- Agree on how the post-divorce issues will be handled.
There is an additional benefit to taking the Collaborative Divorce process. Not only is the settlement going to be reached with much calmer nerves, but also the parties retain control over the timing of the process. The parties—not the court—decide when the next meetings will be scheduled. In this way, they set the pace of their own divorce.
Consult with a Wall Township, NJ Divorce Attorney Today
Whether you use the Collaborative approach from the beginning of your divorce or for only part of it, you will save money and time. More importantly, you will get through the divorce process with less stress.
In the midst of a pandemic, when litigated cases are practically at a standstill and there’s a huge backlog of court cases, Collaborative Divorce is a very good option for parties that wish to resolve their differences and settle their divorce. It will work very well after the pandemic subsides too!