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Going through a divorce, but not going through the troubling times that many couples often do?  You and your soon-to-be ex can agree on most things without a war breaking loose, but neither one of you is quite to the point of happily going along with every decision and signing on the dotted line either.  You are somewhere in the middle. You can agree on most things outside of court, but there are a few things that neither of you is willing to budge. A collaborative divorce may just be your answer. It differs from mediation and arbitration because it is a deliberate choice by the parties to reject conflict and pursue an agreed-upon settlement outside the court system. It’s for those couples that aren’t wanting to argue over every little thing just so he or she can say they won that battle. It is more like the “Troubleshooting” section of your favorite device. It’s like a…”If this, then that” kind of thing – problem-solving. A collaborative divorce is done through mediation and negotiations.

There are several benefits to going the collaborative divorce route, one being that it saves money, but others are:

  • The process is shortened allowing the couple and children, if any, to move forward in this new chapter.
  • The setting is informal, thus more natural feeling and comfortable for all.
  • This process allows both parties to be a part of the decision-making process; therefore, avoiding many hurt feelings from unnecessary hurtful comments made during angry moments.
  • Avoids the blame game and bringing past grievances into the picture.
  • Encourages transparency of assets.
  • Shields children from the couple’s disagreements with each other.

Rather than both couples using the same attorney like many do for mediation, I recommend each partner hire his or her own attorney to fully represent their needs. Make sure that whomever you hire is willing to negotiate rather than simply wanting to go to court for the sake of going to court.  Once you settle on an attorney, you will need to meet with him or her privately to discuss what you would like the outcome of the divorce settlement to be, but keep in mind that you should always be willing to negotiate and be flexible about choices.  Once you’ve both met with your respective attorneys, a meeting with your soon-to-be ex and his or her attorney will be scheduled. Don’t be surprised if it takes more than one meeting to “collaborate” the divorce as there are many details to work out. Think of it like when you bought your home or made a large purchase, you typically looked over all options and narrowed them down and met again with the seller before making your final decision on a price within your budget. It is also not uncommon for unbiased, third-parties like accountants to be involved in collaborative divorces especially if a business is involved. These third-parties aren’t the typical “hired guns” working for one party, they are unbiased and work for both parties.

Once you and your partner have reached an agreement, you will sign a “no court” agreement that directs both of the attorneys to withdraw from the case if the case does continue to litigation in court.

Keep in mind that in order for a collaborative divorce to work, both parties to the divorce must be willing to participate and come to an amicable agreement. Kevin Hickey Law Partners has many years of experience helping couples mediate and negotiate a collaborative divorce. Every divorce doesn’t have to be full of fights, arguments and bitter feelings. We have experience helping many couples end their marriages in this manner. Call today to set up a time to meet with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.

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In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) 434-2414
Fax: (479) 434-2415

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In Northwest Arkansas:
1750 S. Osage Springs Drive, Suite 210
Rogers, AR 72758
Phone: (479) 802-6560
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