Collaborative Divorce Q&A
Answers from an Orange County Divorce Lawyer
Because collaborative divorce is fairly new in the field of family law, I receive a number of questions regarding this alternative method of dispute resolution method. In my experience, collaborative divorce is an excellent option for many couples. Read these answers to commonly asked questions regarding collaborative divorce, or contact Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC today or fill out the free case evaluation offered by my Orange County divorce firm.
How long will my collaborative divorce take?
The length of your collaborative divorce will entirely depend on how easily you and your spouse are able to resolve the terms of your marriage dissolution. Details that must be agreed upon may include child custody, spousal maintenance, child support payments, property division, visitation rights, and more. Typically, however, collaborative divorce takes much less time than litigation because you do not have to wait on your attorney's schedule or the judge's calendar in order to plan the hearing. By some estimates, the average collaborative divorce process takes a total of 18 weeks - approximately fourth quarter of the time required in a traditional divorce.
Will I have to go to court?
As your collaborative divorce lawyer, my goal is to help you achieve total resolution of your divorce terms without ever entering a courtroom. Instead, I can help you employ useful and methods of negotiation that will allow you and your spouse to come to an agreement on the contested issues you may be facing. When all issues are resolved, I can draft a final stipulated judgment and submit it to the family law judge to be signed. From the beginning, both attorneys must sign paperwork guaranteeing that they will only represent their client in the collaborative process - not in court.
How is collaborative divorce different from mediation?
While both are viable dispute resolution methods that allow you to avoid the court process, the main difference between mediation and collaborative divorce is that in collaborative divorce you and your spouse are both able to retain divorce attorneys of your choice to represent you, while in mediation a third-party mediator serves in the negotiation role. This allows you to have the advocacy, support, and counsel of your trusted divorce lawyer in your corner as you approach your marriage dissolution. It's good to have someone looking out for you!
Is collaborative divorce better for my children?
While divorce court necessitates a competitive attitude, collaborative divorce is different. This method facilitates a respectful, working relationship between you and your child's other parent. Remember, your children are suffering, too. Watching beloved parents split is a difficult experience for any child. Collaborative divorce fosters mutual respect and cordiality while allowing you and your spouse to work together to achieve parenting time schedules and custody arrangements that are in the best interests of your children. While family judges strive to look out for a child's best interests, the simply reality is that you and your spouse know your children and their needs much better than anyone else could.
Will collaborative divorce cost more than divorce court?
No. Collaborative divorce is almost always much less expensive than divorce court because this process allows you to avoid a myriad of court fees and costs. While you will still be paying an attorney, the final bill will almost certainly be far less as your attorney will not need you to pay for the drafting of various court documents or any of the time-consuming processes involved in litigation such as depositions and hearings.
What if my spouse and I still cannot come to an agreement?
If the collaborative process is unsuccessful in helping you and your spouse reach a cooperative middle ground, your attorneys and others on your collaborative team may suggest a professional mediator or therapist who can assist you. In the event that this does not succeed, you have the option of dissolving the collaborative process and taking your case to divorce court. Keep in mind that the divorce attorneys who assisted in the collaboration will not be able to represent you in court.
Why is collaborative divorce a good option?
Collaborative divorce allows you to avoid the contentious court process and reach a respectful, satisfactory resolution with your spouse while saving a considerable amount of time and money.
Get Help from Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC
My name is Kevin B. Gibbs, and I have served men, women, and families throughout Southern California as a board-certified Orange County divorce attorney since I first began my legal practice in 1993. During my years in practice, I have helped many individuals facing divorce preserve their family's interests and their own objectives throughout the strenuous and challenging marriage dissolution process. Contact my firm today to discuss your case!