Cleveland Collaborative Divorce Lawyers
Finding the Best Path Forward in Your Divorce
The collaborative divorce process is often less time consuming, less expensive, and less emotionally tricky than a standard divorce that must be worked out in court. As a result, collaborative divorce is becoming increasingly popular in Ohio.
In a collaborative divorce, both parties negotiate to find equitable solutions and sign a participation agreement that states that they will do their best to reasonable throughout the process. These commitments ensure that the groundwork is laid for a divorce where each party is respected, and each party has the best chance of getting what they need and want from the divorce.
At Laubacher & Co., our Cleveland collaborative divorce attorneys will work with you to negotiate a secure and equitable divorce agreement with your spouse that serves your short and long-term interests.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
In 2012, the Ohio legislature enacted the Ohio Collaborative Family Law Act. While collaborative divorce had existed in the state before 2012, this law formalized the process, creating rules about how they are to be performed. This includes a requirement that attorneys who practice in collaborative law obtain specific certifications.
A collaborative divorce is not a divorce. Instead, it is a dissolution, one of the two legal mechanisms for ending a marriage in Ohio (the other being divorce). With a collaborative divorce, the two parties work together (collaborate) to resolve all of the issues related to ending their marriage, such as child custody, property division, and alimony. When an agreement is reached, the parties can request a dissolution from the court.
While collaborative divorce is a type of dissolution, it is distinct from the typical dissolution process. In a collaborative divorce, each party has to have its attorney. The parties must also sign a "collaborative agreement," where they pledge to engage in the process with a collaborative, low conflict attitude. A collaborative divorce often includes experts' assistance, such as an accountant, to help craft a fair and equitable agreement for both parties.
Significantly, in a collaborative divorce, the scope of the attorneys' representation is limited. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then the lawyers must withdraw from the case. The parties can then seek new counsel to proceed with a divorce or regular dissolution.
Once a collaborative agreement is signed, then each party will meet with their lawyer before negotiations begin. From there, the spouses will meet, along with their attorneys, to begin negotiations. Many law firms that offer collaborative divorce services have people on their staff or who they can call to assist in the process, such as family counselors, psychologists, financial professionals, and real estate appraisers.
The attorneys guide the negotiations, helping each spouse through the process, and making sure that each necessary element for the divorce is addressed. When the parties reach an agreement, the lawyers will draft the legal documentation — known as a Petition for Dissolution — and submit it to the court. After a short hearing, the court will grant the dissolution.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce in Ohio
When you choose collaborative divorce, you seek a divorce where both you and your spouse can end your marriage with as much dignity and respect as possible. Not everyone is prepared to make such a commitment, but for those that are collaborative divorce is preferable to the contentious and expensive divorce that so many people find themselves going through.
Collaborative Divorce Is Less Expensive.
Hiring a divorce attorney can be expensive, especially if the attorney must spend a great deal of time on your case. Developing a divorce case for litigation is time-consuming, as a substantial amount of information must be gathered, and an argument must be developed to present to the court. Court proceedings also take a lot of time to go through, with many contentious divorces taking a year or more to resolve. The more issues that need to be determined by the court, the more time it will take. All of this adds up to large attorney fees.
Collaborative Divorce Is Less Time-Consuming.
A contentious divorce may require your attorney to fight for every single aspect of your separation from your spouse – property division, child custody, child support, etc. Each question must be argued by attorneys and decided on by the court, which takes time. The more complex the issues, the longer it may take for the court to work through them and come to a final decision.
In a collaborative divorce in Ohio, both sides are seeking a solution. The collaborative approach cuts down on the time it takes to decide on all issues, and it eliminates the need to wait for the court to make a decision. Where it may take a year to get a typical divorce, a collaborative divorce can often be completed in a matter of months.
Collaborative Divorce Reduces the Stress of Divorce.
The end of a marriage is always emotional, but a typical divorce can significantly amplify the pain, frustration, and resentment that comes with separation. The stress involved in the process can be significant, especially for children. The harder each side fights to get what it wants, the more difficult it becomes for everyone.
In a collaborative divorce, much of the stress is avoided. Both sides are already in the right mindset to resolve issues amicably, and the fact that litigation is not an option that encourages resolutions. With less time, less expense, and a better perspective, divorce can be accomplished with minimal stress.
How Can I Discuss Collaborative Divorce with My Spouse?
Participation in the collaborative process is a two-way street. If you are interested in pursuing a collaborative divorce, you potentially have several options for getting your spouse on board. If you and your spouse are on good terms, discussing the benefits and the process can help move you toward an agreement to pursue a collaborative divorce. If your spouse is resistant, your attorney may be able to talk with your spouse's attorney about using the collaborative process.
What if I Can't Reach an Agreement with My Spouse Using Collaborative Divorce?
Let us start by saying that the collaborative process usually works. When divorcing spouses have committed to pursuing an amicable resolution, they can generally use the collaborative approach to come to terms. However, if their discussions break down, the collaborative process requires both spouses to hire new legal representation to take their divorce to court.
At Laubacher & Co., our attorneys have the tools to help you navigate the collaborative divorce process confidently. We know how to negotiate with other Cleveland collaborative divorce attorneys and achieve a fair outcome that suits your specific needs and circumstances.