Can I Have a Collaborative Divorce if I Hate My Spouse?

rings on divorce papers with two hands across from each other

You and your spouse have decided that the marriage is no longer working. You want a divorce. In many situations, a formerly happy couple has not only fallen out of love but actively dislikes each other.

When you cannot stand to be in the same room as your spouse, a collaborative divorce in New York will be extremely difficult because you will be sitting down at a table with your spouse and lawyers. Litigating in court is an option, but it also has its disadvantages.

What Is Collaborative Divorce in New York?

Collaborative divorce has only been an available option for about 20 years in New York. Each spouse hires their own attorney who is trained in the collaborative divorce process. The spouses meet individually with their own lawyers to establish what their goals are in the divorce.

Both spouses sign a “no court” agreement that acknowledges that neither of their attorneys can represent them should that divorce eventually end up in court if collaboration fails. This is an important part of the process because their attorneys are not motivated to litigate.

All parties, both spouses and both lawyers, meet to discuss each spouse’s wants and work toward a compromise. This process of meeting separately with their own attorney and then collectively continues until all matters of the divorce are settled.

Collaborative divorce can be used to determine all aspects of the divorce agreement:

  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Child Visitation
  • Debt and Asset Distribution
  • Spousal Support

Despite all efforts, if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement in the collaborative process, you can still take the matter to court. Remember, you will be required to use different attorneys.

Our Dutchess County lawyers at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC can help you decide if collaborative divorce is right for you. Call us at (845) 605-4330 to schedule a consultation.

What Are the Advantages of Collaborative Divorce?

There are several advantages to the collaborative process, most notably taking out some of the animosity usually found in a trial. It was a Minnesota lawyer who created the process in the 1990s after seeing both attorneys and spouses affected by the destructive nature of litigation.

Other advantages of collaborative divorce include the following:

  • Faster. Litigated divorces are filled with filing and arguing pretrial motions in front of a judge even before the actual trial begins. Not only do these steps take time, but you and your attorney are held captive by the court’s schedule.
  • Saves Money. Since collaborative divorce is faster, you will rack up less in attorney and court fees.
  • Less Stress. Taking less time and money will reduce the stress levels of everyone. If you have children, this is particularly important. In litigation, emotions can get so heated that children are used as pawns between parents. If children are old enough, they may even have to testify. Trial creates a “me vs. you” environment that ripples long after the divorce is final.
  • Fosters Cooperation. The back and forth to find a middle ground will help each spouse in other areas of their life. The process can improve the ability to see both sides and find common ground. If children are involved, this cooperation will be beneficial as you will need to have a co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. Disagreements will undoubtedly surface in the future.

Even contested divorces often settle before the trial begins. Only about 5% of divorces end up going to trial. The expense, stress, and time involved are some of the reasons behind the low percentage.

What Are the Disadvantages of Collaborative Divorce?

There are costs in collaborative divorce that mirror other methods. You may still have to hire financial experts or psychologists or others, depending on the specifics of your case. The biggest risk in a collaborative divorce is the possibility you may have to start over. If you and your spouse, with the guidance of your attorneys, cannot reach a settlement, you may still have to take your case to court. If you do, you will have to begin again with a new attorney.

Collaboration also will take time and effort. You will need to have a level of communication with your spouse that you didn’t have in your marriage.

Other circumstances may make collaborative divorce inappropriate. Marriages marked by domestic violence, intimidation, coercion, or fear are generally not good candidates for collaborative divorce.

Is Collaborative Divorce and Mediation the Same?

Mediation is another alternative to a divorce trial. There are, however, distinct differences between collaborative and mediated divorces. While both spouses are represented by attorneys in collaborative divorce, mediation is different. The spouses meet with a neutral third party to discuss their divorce issues. The mediator guides the spouses to a resolution but does not provide legal advice or represent either spouse.

Reach a Divorce Settlement Without a Trial

Collaborative divorce is an appropriate option to consider for many New York couples. Faster, less costly, and less stressful than going to court, collaborative divorce enables spouses to come to an agreement and move forward with their separate lives.

At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, we focus on reaching a quality settlement for you and your family. Find out if collaborative divorce is right for you by speaking with one of our attorneys. Schedule a consultation using our online form or by calling our office at (845) 605-4330.

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