Whether you are in Maryland or the District of Columbia, the collaborative divorce process may be the right decision for you and your family. In many cases, the parties are in agreement that they want a divorce, but may not be in agreement as to how to handle child custody, child support, alimony, property division, and other issues relevant to a divorce proceeding.
In these cases, the parties may be able to work out an agreement prior to filing a case in the court. Then, once a case is filed, it will be filed as a consent based action with an agreement as to all or at least most issues, and the judge will basically approve what the parties have agreed to, followed by a 15-minute hearing to establish what is known as a prima facie case, and the divorce will be ordered. This will not only save time, but can significantly reduce the costs for all parties in involved.
How Does the Collaborative Divorce Process Work?
Your Washington, DC or Maryland divorce attorney will work with the parties and as many outside experts as needed to accomplish the goals of the parties. For example, the parties may meet with a mediator who specializes in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). You may be surprised to know that a few hours with a mediator can often save a week of trial, and that means a huge savings for the parties involved in terms of legal fees and costs.
Your Gaithersburg divorce attorney might also want to work with a parent coordinator (PC) to help the parties reach an agreement on child custody issues that is in the best interest of your children as well as the parents. In some cases, when there is a question as to the value of a business or what the tax consequences will be of a particular property dissolution decision, it might be best for your attorney and the parties to work with a CPA. These are just some of the examples of how the collaborative divorce process works, and these professionals may not be needed in your case.
This is not to say that in some cases, you will not have to go to trial and have your attorney fight for the results you deserve, but when the parties can form an agreement, it is often better for everyone. As one former family court judge in the District of Columbia liked to say, “any agreement the parties can reach on their own will always be better than any decision made by me as a judge.” What he meant by this was not that the court can’t do its job after hearing the evidence and fashion a ruling based upon the interests, but when the parties have input in the process and form an agreement, they are usually more satisfied with the results than what happens following a trial.
Again, it should be noted that, in some cases, one party will ultimately refuse to be reasonable, and in these cases, a trial may be the only way to get the results you desire.
If you need assistance with a collaborative divorce case or any other family law matter in the District of Columbia or Maryland, please contact the Law Offices of Daniel A. Gross for a consultation.