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Collaborative Law: Divorce outside a New Jersey courtroom

Do you know it's possible to get divorced without ever stepping inside a New Jersey courtroom? If that sounds like music to your ears, you may want to research the collaborative law process. It's essentially a means of legal negotiation between spouses who agree to resolve all divorce-related issues without litigation.  

To enter the collaborative process, you and your soon-to-be former spouse must sign an agreement. This contract states all terms by which both parties must agree to adhere. Each spouse must retain separate legal representation, and all financial issues, property matters and personal topics, such as child custody and visitation, will be disclosed and discussed during collaborative meetings. Full disclosure is especially necessary concerning assets and liabilities. 

Both spouses must also agree to conduct themselves in an amicable, respectful fashion, which includes a willingness to cooperate and compromise to achieve a fair and agreeable settlement. There are times when spouses try to see the collaborative process through but later determine it's not working. In such cases, litigation may be necessary; however, the attorney representing a particular spouse in collaboration may not represent him or her in subsequent litigation.  

The collaborative process is more likely to be successful if you hire an attorney who has experience in collaborative law negotiation. Communication is key in the collaborative system, so if you and spouse can barely converse without arguing, you may want to consider other divorce options. An experienced New Jersey attorney can help you determine which course of action may best fit your particular situation. 

Source: FindLaw, "Collaborative Law (Divorce)", Accessed on April 2, 2018

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