Are you and your spouse good cooperative divorce candidates?

You and your spouse worked as a team throughout your marriage and in raising your children.

Now that your marriage is coming to an end, can you still use the principles of teamwork in a cooperative divorce?

How it begins

Many divorcing couples dislike the idea of possibly contentious litigation where a judge makes decisions that will affect their future and the future of their children. Cooperative divorce puts more control into the hands of the participants. It is an alternative that, compared to traditional divorce, is more respectful, less time-consuming and certainly less expensive.

Working together

In a cooperative divorce, the parties work together with the help of their respective lawyers to craft a settlement agreement that will satisfy them both. They negotiate and cooperate in good faith and find ways to resolve their differences.  To this end, they will list all assets, disclose all pertinent financial information and promptly provide any additional information that either side requests.

The main difference

Cooperative divorce is much like collaborative divorce. Both types are favored by parties who feel they can work as a team toward a fair compromise in a civil manner. The main difference is that in a collaborative divorce, the attorneys must withdraw from participation if problems remain resolved. If this occurs, the couple must engage new attorneys to take the case to court, which will add time and expense to the divorce process. In a cooperative divorce, the attorneys work with the parties, sometimes in four-way sessions, to achieve the looked-for results and will proceed to court with them if any sticking points remain.

Looking ahead

Experience has shown that litigation is often hard on the children of the marriage due to the long process and the bitterness that may surface between the divorcing parents. One of the reasons that cooperative divorce has gained in popularity is that it is much less stressful for everyone, including the children. It also sets the foundation for continued communication among family members even as the former teammates reach an agreement and go their separate ways.

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