In our last post, we discussed how history was made this past fall when Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act, a measure recognizing collaboration as the fourth way for couples to officially divorce, joining a list that includes meditation, arbitration and, of course, litigation.
To recap, the collaborative divorce process involves the spouses, both of whom are represented by their own attorney, coming together to resolve divorce-related issues in a peaceful and constructive atmosphere.
Are there any other parties involved in the collaborative divorce process?
While there will always be a minimum of four parties in any collaborative divorce, experts from all areas — from financial specialists and real estate professionals to child psychiatrists and licensed professional counselors — can be brought in to help resolve matters.
It’s important to understand, however, that these are joint experts, meaning they aren’t retained by either spouse. Not only does this save money, it helps facilitate solutions, as neither spouse is suspicious of the expert’s motives, and can rely on their unbiased expertise.
Are these experts bound by confidentiality?
Yes, any experts brought into the collaborative divorce process are bound by confidentiality, such that they cannot talk about anything outside of team without first securing the necessary permission.
Are there other benefits to collaborative divorce besides allowing spouses to talk constructively?
There are a multitude of benefits to collaborative divorce outside of its enabling spouses to discuss divorce-related issues peacefully and reach mutually acceptable terms.
For instance, traditional divorce litigation often involves significant investments of time and money, and can take a very significant physical and emotional toll. Making matters worse, all matters are left entirely up to a judge who may not be entirely familiar with the specifics of a couple’s life.
In collaborative divorce, a couple saves significant money, works according to their own schedule, and sees considerably less of a toll on their physical and mental wellbeing given the absence of conflict. Furthermore, every decision they make accounts for their unique circumstances.
Most importantly of all, however, is the fact that collaborative divorce can make things much easier for their children.
Those interested in learning more about the divorce process or who have questions about other family law matters should consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.
Source: The Daily Record, “New way to divorce taking root in NJ,” Lorraine Ash, Feb. 22, 2015