The Collaborative Divorce Process: A Smoother Road to Separation

By Michael DiFalco

The traditional divorce process evokes images of partners who are angry with each other, litigating every issue they have with one another before a court. Each partner tries to gain a financial advantage over the other in an attempt to repay the other for perceived wrongs during the marriage. In the end, both parties are often left unsatisfied and exhausted by the process.

However, not everyone feels the need to prevail over their ex in court. Some couples realize that a divorce is the most appropriate path forward in their relationship. Couples with this outlook and who can work together to reach mutually beneficial agreements may find the collaborative divorce process more appealing than a traditional divorce.

New York Collaborative Divorce in a Nutshell

When you and your soon-to-be ex-partner commit to a collaborative divorce, you work together to find common ground on issues pertinent to your divorce. This includes matters such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. These agreements are then committed to in writing and entered as orders of the court.

Collaborative divorce gives you and your ex greater control over the outcome of your divorce. Instead of submitting evidence to a judge and allowing the judge to determine who should have custody of your child or how your assets should be divided, you and your ex seek to determine these matters for yourselves. 

Overview of the Collaborative Divorce Process

As the name implies, both you and your ex-partner must be interested in pursuing a collaborative divorce. If either of you do not want to participate in a collaborative divorce, the other cannot force them to. In this situation, your case would proceed through the traditional divorce process.

Once you and your ex decide to pursue a collaborative divorce, you will sign an agreement memorializing your commitment. As part of the process, you agree to participate in good faith and deal truthfully with one another. Because collaborative divorce is voluntary, either of you may terminate the process at any time.

During the course of your collaborative divorce, you and your attorneys will work to reach a negotiated agreement on any relevant issue in your divorce. For most couples, this will include property division, child support, and child custody. If it becomes necessary, you and your partner may also work with advisors and other professionals to help you reach decisions.

For example, suppose there is a disagreement about the value of your partner’s business. In a collaborative divorce, you and your partner instead enlist the help of an expert. That expert conducts an unbiased valuation of your partner’s business, which then helps you decide how to divide the rest of the marital property.

The court ensures that any agreement you reach with your spouse is your free and voluntary choice. If so, the court will adopt your agreement and enter it as an enforceable court order. For any matter that you and your partner cannot reach an amicable agreement on, the court will resolve it under the traditional divorce method.

Learn More by Speaking With a Garden City Divorce Lawyer Today

Whether you are interested in a collaborative or traditional divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney from the Garden City, NY, law firm of Aiello & DiFalco to get started. We can go through the advantages and disadvantages of a collaborative divorce with you and help you decide whether this option makes sense for your situation.

We are prepared to help you obtain a divorce that includes terms favorable to you and your interests. Schedule your consultation with Aiello & DiFalco today.

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.