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Collaborative divorce, a cheaper alternative?

You have decided to make the break with your partner, and you are pursuing your options for divorce. You understand that the only constant in life is change, and you are ready to make this big one. It's not that you hate your partner; it's just not working out.

This attitude is a good one to have when it comes to ending a marriage. If two individuals can keep the long-term in mind, they don't have to stress too much about the short-term difficulties that are happening right now. One potential option for individuals who are looking for a way to work together with their ex is collaborative divorce. One huge benefit of collaborative divorce is that, in general, it is less costly than other types of divorce.

Why can collaborative divorce be less costly?

Typically, collaborative divorce is less costly because neither party has the need-to-win attitude. The two individuals have the mindset that they will work together to settle their affairs, and resolve any disagreements that pop up, in a fair and friendly way. By using negotiation, you are less likely to require a court battle to resolve common issues of divorce.

What issues will I resolve using collaborative divorce?

This of course, begs the question, "What makes up divorce negotiations?" You will probably tackle a few extremely common topics at the end of your marriage.

  • Property division: You will figure out what is separate property versus marital property, and you will decide with your partner an equitable way of splitting any shared assets. If you two have invested together in retirement accounts, you use authorized methods to minimize tax penalties of separating these funds.
  • Child custody: You will decide with your soon-to-be ex who will get the children and when, whether it is an even split or whether someone gets primary custody.
  • Child support: Alongside custody, child support issues need settling. If one parent ends up being a non-custodial parent, then that parent will likely make a monthly child support payment that will go toward the care of the children.
  • Alimony: Another possible point of negotiation will be spousal support. If one spouse primarily stayed at home to care for children, they are likely earning far less than the other spouse is. One party may end up paying temporary or permanent financial support to the other.

Where does it go from here?

If you and your soon-to-be former spouse decide to use collaborative divorce to separate, you will each select an attorney to represent you, and begin to negotiate a settlement. The big savings comes from avoiding court costs and court appearances. When you and your spouse can come to an agreement, you will be able to submit it to the court for approval and finalize your divorce. If for some reason you can't come to an agreement, then you always have the option to litigate.

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