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Collaborative Divorce

NJ Collaborative Divorce

What is Family Collaborative Law?

Family collaborative law is a dispute resolution method that has been gaining increased popularity. Each party retains an attorney in order to resolve a family dispute in a “voluntary, non‐adversarial manner, without court intervention.”  It is a team approach to divorce.


All parties involved begin with the intention of resolving the dispute without litigation.  Generally, filing a complaint starts a divorce.  In this instance, the divorce process begins without filing the divorce because the parties agree to finalize an agreement before filing the complaint.  Thus, no courts or court proceedings will be involved in the collaborative process, unless either party breaks the participation agreement.  This can decrease the costly expenses usually associated with divorce and other family litigation matters, such as hourly fees for court appearances. In addition, attorneys do not need to spend time on the discovery process, in which important information is gathered from banks, employers, witnesses and other sources, because the law requires that both parties provide “timely, full and candid disclosure” of relevant information.

Collaborative Divorce vs. Divorce Mediation

A divorce may begin by meeting a neutral third party considered the mediator.  The mediator guides the parties through the divorce process by reaching an agreement resolving their assets, liabilities, spousal support, child support, and child custody issues.  The parties may obtain their individual attorneys to represent them at any time during the mediation process.  In the NJ collaborative divorce, the respective attorneys represent the parties from the onset.  Both collaborative and mediation may involve representation from respective attorneys.  However, the entire premise of the collaborative divorce revolves around being represented at all times, which is not the case in mediation if the respective attorneys of the parties are not present for the mediation session.  Both processes promote an amicable solution to divorce.

What to expect of the NJ collaborative divorce process

After a family collaborative law participation agreement is signed, both parties meet in a style similar to mediation; however, each person is accompanied by their own attorney. When necessary, relevant non-attorney professionals will attend, such as certified financial planners, certified public accountants, licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, and psychiatrists.  A team of professionals will give the parties the ability to efficiently and economically divorce.  For instance, the financial planner will consolidate all the financial information and prepare financial reports to enable the parties to make informative decisions regarding their separate financial futures.   A certified public accountant will provide the tax consequences regarding alimony and division of property.  A family therapists will help deal with the loss of identity and how best to communicate with your child regarding the divorce.

Confidentiality of the collaborative divorce

Attorneys and all other parties involved must maintain confidentiality on any information revealed and communication exchanged during the collaborative process. If for any reason the family collaborative process comes to an end, none of the information can be used in court, and both attorneys must be replaced by new counsel from a different law firm.

Armour law firm is committed to the NJ collaborative divorce and mediation process.

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