Waterloo Collaborative Divorce Attorney
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial approach to a divorce. You, your spouse, and your lawyers pledge in writing not to go to court. Instead, you negotiate in good faith and work together to achieve a mutual settlement outside the courts.
There are many benefits to choosing this voluntary method of reaching a divorce agreement. Not only does it allow you to avoid the time, expenses, and stress of going through the family court system, but it also allows you and your spouse to reach decisions together that work best for you rather than relying on an impartial judge.
To learn more, including how Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C. can help you with your collaborative divorce, contact us online or call (319) 220-0416 today. Our offices in Waterloo & Iowa City proudly serve the entire state.
What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?
As previously mentioned, collaborative divorce offers a number of benefits for both parties.
Some of these benefits include:
- Effect on Family: In collaborative divorce, relationships are often preserved thanks to respectful and mutual problem solving.
- Less Adversity: Spouses and attorneys pledge to act with mutual respect and transparency, leading to less adversity and contention among the two parties.
- Timing: With collaborative divorce, both spouses control the timing of the divorce and are not dictated by court deadlines.
- Communication: Spouses are encouraged to communicate directly with the assistance of their attorneys during collaborative divorce proceedings.
- Court Involvement: In collaborative divorce, court involvement is limited to the approval of a final decree (which must meet the requirements of Iowa law).
- Privacy: Unlike in traditional divorce proceedings, which are public, collaborative divorces, including all negotiations, are private until finalized.
- Outside Experts: Spouses can jointly retain outside experts to provide information and guidance on a variety of matters, allowing both spouses to develop informed, mutually beneficial solutions.
- Cost: With collaborative divorce, the expenses of the divorce are more manageable and predictable; the collaborative process is usually less expensive than litigation.
Do You Need to Have an Attorney for Collaborative Divorce in Iowa?
Yes, both parties must be represented by an attorney who has collaborative law training in order to obtain a collaborative divorce in the state of Iowa. At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., Attorney Jennifer L. Chase is trained and certified in collaborative law, as well as in divorce mediation.
Steps Involved in Collaborative Divorce
Like any other family law proceeding, there are several important steps involved in the collaborative divorce process.
These steps include the following:
- First, both parties hire trained collaborative law attorneys and sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter. Both parties and their attorneys agree to treat each other with respect and dignity.
- The parties and their attorneys engage in four-way meetings where relevant and material information is voluntarily exchanged between the parties. During these meetings, the parties use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement, which will be presented to the court for approval. Outside experts—such as child specialists, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and any other experts that may be needed—are jointly engaged by the parties in order to reach an agreeable resolution.
- Once a mutually agreeable settlement is reached, the agreement is presented to the court for approval. The agreement must abide by any and all applicable state laws.
It is important to note that the collaborative divorce process ends with the commencement of any contested court proceeding, at which time both collaborative attorneys are disqualified and must withdraw from representation. The parties will then proceed with litigation with the assistance of new attorneys. In other words, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on any single point of the divorce, you will not be able to continue with the collaborative divorce process, nor will you be able to continue working with your collaborative law attorney.
If you believe that a collaborative divorce is not only possible but also the best option for your particular situation, we encourage you to reach out to our Waterloo collaborative divorce attorneys as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your case.
Since 1958, our firm has been representing individuals and families in a variety of complex divorce and family law matters throughout the state of Iowa. We understand the emotional impact these situations have and are prepared to guide you through the process with compassion and the personal attention you deserve.