More options are becoming available to couples seeking divorce. When individuals work together on the details of their divorce, rather than in divorce courts, they have a higher tendency to follow through with the agreements made. A new collaborative law is being brought to states throughout the US, most recently adopted into law in New Jersey.
Collaborative law is an alternative to the common mediation law. Both are used during divorce or other family matters, allowing the parties involved to sit down together before court to hash out the details. In divorce the couples using mediation discuss their situation with a mediator, who provides advice and counsel while remaining a bipartisan third party. Couples filing their divorce through the collaborative process each have their own lawyer to guide them through their rights and legal position.
Collaborative divorce has been practiced in the US as of 2009 when the Uniform Collaborative Law Act was adopted by the Uniform Law Commission, making it available to individual States. So far the Uniform Collaborative Law Act has been enacted into law by Utah, Nevada, Texas, Hawaii, Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Washington State, Alabama, and now New Jersey. It's also pending enactment in several additional U.S. states.
Council Co-Chair, Anna Maria Pittella, Esquire, said, "This bill creates an obligation on the attorney to focus only on negotiations and to use problem solving skills to break an impasse. It provides for team building that is needed to address all three parts of the divorce: legal, financial, and mental health."
Divorce is a source of unavoidable family strain, made more so if children are involved. Divorce through litigation, a court process of he-said she-said, increases an already stressful situation. By using collaborative law, court proceedings are avoided until all issues are resolved. To use collaborative law for a divorce process, both parties have to be voluntarily involved and sign "participation agreement" before beginning. The contract for collaborative divorce also disqualifies each respective lawyer's right to represent either one in any future family related litigation.
With divorces becoming more and more frequent, it's been important to find a simple and easy-to-navigate solution for those seeking a way out of their marriage. When individuals don't agree about their divorce or the details of it, divorce can become an ugly situation. However, when both parties are in agreement - why cause undo stress? Having the options of either mediation law or collaborative law before court promises some peace of mind to both individuals involved.