Written By: Kathrine V. Lacey, Esq.
The adversarial nature of the Family Court process can cause spouses to become entrenched in their respective positions, creating lasting conflict. This can prevent parties, and their children, from moving on in a healthy manner. New Hampshire now offers an alternative approach under the Collaborative Law Act that takes the fight out of divorce.
What is Collaborative Law?
In a Collaborative case, spouses openly communicate with each other while supported by neutral professionals. Discussing their personal and financial goals allows them to explore mutually beneficial outcomes, effectively avoiding a judge’s order that could fail to reflect the nuances of their situation.
Who is involved in a Collaborative Law Team?
Aside from the spouses and their respective attorneys, the team includes a mental health professional and a financial advisor. The latter educates the spouses on the long-term impact of different methods of asset division, so that each party can make informed decisions. The former facilitates communication, manages conflict, and assists with child-related decisions, if applicable.
How is this different from a Non-Collaborative Divorce?
In a Non-Collaborative Divorce, the spouses and their attorneys are pitted against each other, seeking advantage in every discussion and document. Oftentimes, despite attorney’s advice, spouses never consult with financial advisors or therapists and end up making uninformed decisions regarding the impact of asset division, or co-parenting without the skills to communicate effectively. By contrast, the Collaborative Divorce process commits to the negotiation of a mutually beneficial division of assets and parenting time, resulting in an agreement that can be as unique as the family to which it applies.
This article was originally published in The Laconia Daily Sun on May 27, 2022 on page 6, in the “Legally Speaking” column.