The New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act became law not too long ago. Even though collaborative divorce has been used for many years, the implementation of the law made New Jersey the 11th state to adopt the alternative divorce procedure that is seen by many as faster and less costly than a traditional litigation style divorce. An attorney represents both parties, but the attorneys act more like advisors and negotiators than adversaries.
The focus is not on who comes out the winner. Instead, the parties and their representatives attempt to work together to create the best possible outcome for themselves and any children involved. It can help parties make property division and child custody agreements in an amicable fashion.
Divorce is not just a legal process. It is also financial, emotional, physical and spiritual. Collaborative divorce allows parties to pay attention to these other aspects as well as the legal ones. Couples can jointly hire experts to guide them. Such experts might include psychologists, social workers, accountants, appraisers and financial planners.
Undertaking the divorce process is in this way is completely voluntary. If couples decide to do so, they can sign a participation agreement, which lays out the rules for the procedure. Both parties are required to provide full and candid disclosure of all financial information without formal discovery. One of the most desirable aspects is confidentiality.
Expert opinions and other communications that are obtained and used during the collaborative divorce procedure cannot then be used later in court if the process fails and litigation becomes necessary. In such a situation, both parties would also be required to obtain new litigation attorneys. However, the procedure rarely fails.
According to an in-depth article on the topic over 95 percent of couples who choose to use the collaborative divorce process are successful in reaching a final settlement, and the only court appearance required is the final hearing, which takes about 10 minutes.
Although this process may not be a fit in all situations, overall, it may be a great option for those who do not want their divorce to be overly expensive and lengthy.