Choosing to file for divorce is never an easy decision. It can be stressful and emotionally exhausting. This can be due to a variety of reasons, but once the decision is made, the next step is trying to figure out how to file for divorce; there are many avenues a separated couple may decide to pursue.
Hopefully, both individuals involved share a desire for an outcome that benefits both parties once the divorce process is completed. If this is the case, there are two alternative dispute resolutions for divorce that should be investigated: mediation and the newly popular collaborative law.
Collaborative Law vs. Mediation
Alternative dispute resolutions seek to settle conflict outside of the courtroom. These are not limited to just divorce but any conflict between disagreeing parties that want to avoid litigation. For divorce, two alternative dispute resolutions are mediation and collaborative law. Though similar, they each differ on how they achieve a win-win, or beneficial outcome for both parties involved.
Divorce mediation is a method where a neutral third-party guides a couple through resolving all issues throughout the divorce process.
Key concepts on divorce mediation:
- Work with one mediator, no representation for either party
- Mediator has no authority to make final decisions and cannot offer legal advice
- Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and flexible
Collaborative law divorce, sometimes referred to as collaborative practice, is a legal process where couples filing for divorce work with their own divorce attorneys outside of a courtroom.
Key concepts on collaborative law:
- Each party has their own divorce lawyer representing them
- Parties can decide between two types of collaborative law: Interdisciplinary, where there can be other outside professionals involved, such as a mediator, child custody specialists, and financial experts, and Lawyer-only.
- Both parties will need to sign a Participation Agreement, which includes a Disqualification Provision.
A Closer Look at Collaborative Law
There are some specifics that should be known before entering into a collaborative law divorce. First, this process always involves a participation agreement that outlines expectations, rights, and responsibilities of the clients and their lawyers. Within that agreement is a disqualification provision that states if either party files this case in court then both parties must hire new litigation lawyers. This ensures that everyone involved is fully committed to settling the case. It also actively discourages moving into litigation because of a substantial cost increase due to needing to hire new divorce attorneys.
Just like mediation, collaborative law is based on good faith, full disclosure, and both parties winning at the conclusion of the divorce. It also shares the benefits of saving time and money, while taking place in an informal setting—all the while avoiding the stress of litigation.
How to File for Divorce Using Collaborative Law
The first step to file for a divorce should be to consult with a trusted family law attorney. Legal issues involved in divorce are numerous and complex, even when considering mediation or collaborative law. As experienced divorce attorneys in Minneapolis, we at KTF Law Firm invite you to schedule a free consultation with our law firm. Being specialized in mediation and collaborative law, we prioritize helping clients make the right decisions that protect their families during the divorce process, ensuring dignity and respect are maintained throughout.