Divorce with Dignity
Although divorce is never easy, it no longer has to be as confrontational, stressful and painful. A relatively new approach to divorce – Collaborative Divorce – focuses on a peaceful resolution to the important legal issues that must be resolved when parties divorce, and allows parties to “divorce with dignity”. In this process, resolution focuses on the needs of both parties, as well as the needs of the children. This process also understands that divorce is a restructuring of their relationship, rather than an end to the relationship. The issues addressed in the adversarial, litigation-based process are also addressed in a Collaborative Divorce. These issues include legal custody, physical placement, child support, property division, maintenance, and taxes. Collaborative Divorce practitioners understand that parties to a divorce will often continue to have contact with each other, in-laws and mutual friends, especially if they have children together. Attorneys involved in the Collaborative Process are specially trained to reduce the animosity, resentment and anger which often occur when parties divorce in a litigation-based process. Proceeding in a collaborative manner allows the parties to maintain a more cordial relationship and to more successfully co-parent.
Attorney Nanette L. Karls is passionate about Collaborative Divorce and currently serves on the board for the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin. She has been practicing family law more than 25 years, and Collaborative Divorce for 15 years, since the Collaborative Divorce movement began in Wisconsin. Attorney Karls realized that collaborative divorce was an ideal fit for her practice, and has been practicing collaborative divorce ever since.
Collaborative vs. Traditional Divorce
Some significant differences between Collaborative Divorce and the traditional process are the following:
- Parties sign an agreement stating that they will not rely on the court to resolve any issues, but will reach resolution themselves, with the expert guidance of their Collaborative attorneys. If the Collaborative process fails, the Collaborative attorneys may no longer represent the parties, and each party must hire litigation attorneys. This process gives the parties control over their futures, rather than having their futures dictated to them by a judge.
- Open communication between the parties and sharing of relevant information eliminates the need to use costly discovery procedures to obtain needed information.
- Joint hiring of experts to value assets reduces the cost to value assets, and eliminates the need for the ensuing fight between experts.
- Specialists are involved in the process depending on the needs of the parties. Although involving other professionals may sound expensive, bringing in other professionals may actually decrease the cost of divorce by allowing parties to focus on legal issues, helping parents determine what is best for their children, and helping parties make sound financial decisions.
For more information about divorce, including Collaborative Divorce, please contact our office.