Some couples going through divorce in California might want to consider a collaborative approach. A collaborative divorce involves each spouse having a separate attorney but working together to reach an agreement instead of going to court. If negotiations fail and the couple must go to court, neither attorney is permitted to participate further in the case.
There are several agreements that are generally part of a collaborative divorce agreement. Both parties must agree to good faith disclosures of all information, and neither should take advantage of an error on the other's part. In addition, both spouses should agree to behave respectfully toward one another and protect children from any fallout as much as possible. Spouses should also agree to use the same experts. This will be helpful if there is an item that must be appraised. Otherwise, the divorce process will get bogged down by each spouse bringing in an appraiser. The ultimate goal is to work toward an agreement that benefits both of parties.
Another advantage of collaborative law is that it acknowledges the emotional side of divorce. Professionals involved may include mental health counselors. Spouses might also hire financial professionals, parenting specialists and others to help themselves and their children through the process.
During negotiations, spouses should be careful not to allow themselves to get overcome by their emotions. Discussing goals with an attorney may be helpful. For example, a spouse may want to keep the home for sentimental reasons and because it provides a stable base for the children. However, the cost of upkeep, insurance, taxes and other expenses may ultimately make this impractical.