Collaborating for a better divorce
Collaboration may be the easiest way for a divorcing couple to avoid litigation and come to a settlement that suits them both.
It may be difficult for someone who is going through a divorce in Pensacola, Florida, to imagine teaming up with the person he or she no longer wants to be married to. However, many experts are now encouraging couples to do just that. When spouses can agree to work together during the divorce process, they can often reduce the emotional and financial fallout that are commonly part of this major life change.
Collaborative divorce is a process that bypasses the need to have a judge determine the outcome, according to Forbes.com. Instead of litigation, spouses hire a team of professionals who are committed to helping the couple come to a successful settlement – one each of them can live with.
According to the American Psychological Association, a divorce is typically smoothest when there is a psychologist who is trained to assist with the difficulties that are often part of the process. Healthy communication is the primary goal, and one of the ways a psychologist can facilitate this is by working with each spouse to identify issues that might cause arguments before sitting down to discuss the agreement. Both parties should also determine what outcomes they want from the settlement, and a psychologist can assist in clarifying realistic goals.
Dividing marital property can be tricky, even when both parties are doing their best to be civil. Florida is an equitable distribution state, and according to Relevant Florida Statutes, that means a judge must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution. Relevant factors are considered, including but not limited to the following:
• What each spouse contributed to the financial circumstances of the marriage, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as a homemaker
• How long the marriage lasted
• Whether keeping an asset such as a home or business is necessary for one spouse
• Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party
All non-marital and marital property must be identified, which includes sources of income, tangible assets, retirement accounts, pensions, insurance plans and more. Liabilities from the marital union, such as mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other sources of debt also have to be divided equitably.
Forbes.com points out that the financial expert best equipped to deal with all these aspects of the divorce may be a forensic accountant. These professionals may also be trained to value antiques, artwork and other similar assets.
Each spouse must have an attorney during the collaborative process, according to Forbes.com. However, the legal professionals and the spouses agree to forego litigation. If one party decides a court battle is unavoidable, both must seek new legal representation and begin the process again from the beginning.
Even though more people may be involved in the collaborative process than in a traditional divorce, most experts agree that it is much more cost effective and less time consuming. The potential for an amicable divorce is making cooperation an appealing option for a growing number of couples. An experienced family law attorney will be able to provide the representation that a person needs to ensure a satisfactory settlement.