What is a Cooperative Divorce?

The divorce process that many are familiar with is the traditional divorce, which is an adversarial process. Most divorce cases are resolved by a negotiated agreement between the divorcing parties; however, if parties can’t reach a settlement agreement in family law issues using the traditional divorce, then the divorcing spouses must go to family law court and present their cases before a family court judge, who hopefully will rule in favor of their desired outcome.

Litigation is appropriate in many divorce cases, but it’s not always the ideal option for all couples seeking a divorce. A cooperative divorce could be a better legal option for spouses with no contentious issues and there is a mutual agreement to leave the marriage as amicably as possible while maintaining fairness. If you and your spouse are contemplating getting a collaborative divorce, it’s essential to hire a collaborative divorce lawyer to protect your rights and interests. At Brighter Day℠ Law, our Colorado Springs Collaborative divorce lawyers have helped thousands of couples get the outcome they desire and we can help you, too. To schedule a consultation, contact our family law firm in Colorado Springs today at (719) 225-4443.

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What is a Collaborative Law Divorce in Colorado?

In a collaborative law divorce, the divorcing spouses will each hire their own collaborative divorce attorney. Each spouse will meet one-on-one with their divorce attorney to discuss what they would like to achieve in the divorce settlement with the minimum acceptable outcome. Both spouses and their family law attorneys will sign a “Participation Agreement,” where each party involved commits to the collaborative divorce process, which usually comprises the following clauses:

  • The spouses will take part in the divorce process in good faith and to exchange information openly and freely,  
  • The Participation Agreement will bind the cooperative divorce attorneys from withdrawing from representing their clients,
  • Both spouses will  maintain the status quo concerning any minor children in the marriage and marital assets during the negotiation process, unless mutually agreed otherwise,
  • The parties will set conditions through which the collaborative divorce process can be terminated without a settlement agreement. 

Related: Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer

Once the Participation Agreement is executed, a series of meetings between both spouses and their collaborative divorce attorneys will take place to negotiate issues of spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, and asset division. The parties will hire neutral experts, such as financial advisors, accountants, and behavior experts.  

It’s essential to note that a collaborative divorce differs from mediation. In mediation, the parties hire a third party to bring them together on the terms of their agreement. Although the professional mediator could be brought into the collaborative divorce process when the divorcing parties are having difficulty agreeing on family law issues, collaborative divorces are often carried out between the parties and their divorce attorneys without a mediator.

Cooperative Divorce

Once a divorce settlement both spouses reach an agreement, their collaborative divorce attorneys will file the agreement alongside a divorce petition in the right domestic relations court, where it’ll be entered by the family law court with no need for the parties to appear in court.  

What If We Can’t Agree?

A Collaborative Divorce isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, both spouses can’t agree on divorce terms. Here, the cooperative divorce process can be ended. Once the collaborative divorce process is terminated, both spouses can move forward using the traditional method. However, they can’t move forward with the traditional method using the collaborative attorneys or experts who were involved in the collaborative process.

By deciding to end the collaborative divorce process and move forward with the traditional divorce, both spouses agree to:

  • Hire new legal representation. Collaborative divorce attorneys can’t represent the spouses in any future traditional adversarial or litigation, and
  • End case work. In family law court, you and your spouse can’t use the work or evidence that was gathered in the collaborative divorce process.

For those couples who like the idea of eliminating conflict but without the risk of having to hire new family law lawyers and starting the divorce process over again, consider the Cooperative Divorce dispute resolution approach.

Related: How to Prepare for Divorce

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Us?

If collaborative divorce is right for you and your spouse depends on your ability to work together, each party’s opinion on the process, and your willingness to negotiate. The divorcing parties can file for a contested divorce if they can’t communicate or have a history of domestic abuse. A contested divorce focuses on what each party is entitled to by Colorado divorce law.

However, if you’re both ready to set aside your differences and discuss your divorce amicably, you may save money and time using the collaborative process.

Divorce is stressful and messy, and both parties may experience intense feelings throughout the process of ending their relationship. It’s unlikely that both parties will leave the process feeling like they got everything they wanted. However, a cooperative divorce process divorce enables the couple to have the power to decide how to proceed with the critical divorce issues without third-party intervention.

Contact Our Experienced Colorado Springs Divorce Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!

At Brighter Day℠ Law, we’ll help you navigate through essential divorce issues and procedures involved in collaborative divorce proceedings, whether you’re in a traditional or non-traditional family situation. If you’re ending your marriage and would like to explore your legal options for resolving your divorce, we encourage you to contact the best divorce lawyers in Colorado Springs and schedule an initial consultation. The cooperative divorce process is one of many approaches available for spouses seeking a divorce. For a customized solution, contact our experienced Colorado Springs Collaborative divorce lawyers today at (719) 225-4443.