Written By: Katherine J. Morneau, Esq.
There are many reasons individuals seek a collaborative process for their divorce. One of the major benefits of a collaborative divorce is that the agreements are much more comprehensive and tailored to your needs than a Court Order.
What happens when a Court makes the Final Orders?
When people go to Court and request a Final Divorce Order, they usually have a final trial where they present witnesses, pleadings, and exhibits. The spouses must take the stand and justify what they are requesting from the Court. This can be a traumatizing experience for many people who have never been in a Courtroom before.
During this trial, the Judge is expected to understand and absorb all the conflicting information coming at them quickly and make a sound ruling for the individuals and their children. The Judge is considering the facts before them when making that Final Divorce Order.
There is no possible way a Judge will also have a complete understanding of your children’s personalities and their individual needs. Only you and your spouse really have that understanding, yet the Judge is tasked with making Final Parenting Orders.
Final Orders created by the Court often leave one or both individuals unhappy with the outcome. When that happens, post-divorce litigation is almost always on the horizon. In many cases, the post-divorce litigation can take much longer than did the original divorce.
How the collaborative process addresses these issues
In the collaborative process, the spouses are in control of the outcome of their divorce. Along with the assistance of a Collaborative Coach, the parents can work together to craft a Parenting Plan that will put their children’s individual needs first. Parents know their children best and what will and will not work for them. Having this customized agreement in place often avoids future disputes about the children’s schedules and needs.
Additionally, having the assistance of a Financial Neutral in the collaborative process allows the individuals to look far into the future to see how the financial settlement will look come retirement time. The Financial Neutral can also help with tax-saving strategies that may have a significant impact on the family.
Another benefit of the collaborative process is that individuals are learning to work together as co-parents rather than adversaries in Court. The collaborative team helps these co-parents work through the issues that are most important to them resulting in them feeling heard and respected by the other. When an issue arises in the future, they have the skills and trust to work together to address it.
Most cases are appropriate for the collaborative process and having the right team to help you learn more about your options is crucial. In New Hampshire, the first step in learning more about collaborative law is to have you and your spouse meet with a Collaborative Coach together. The Coach is a neutral person who will explain the process and make recommendations to local Collaborative Attorneys that are trained and committed to the collaborative process. Being connected with a Collaborative Attorney who is motivated to help you settle your case will set you up for success in avoiding Court and litigation in the future and having a better agreement at the conclusion of your case.
Katherine is a dedicated family lawyer and business owner. She is known for helping good people through tough times, such as divorce and parenting matters. As a child of an amicable divorce, she knows how hard divorce can be on children, even in the best of situations. With a focus on working together for the interests of the family, Katherine strives to give her clients the tools they need for a successful future.