Collaborative Law: Latest Trend in Divorce the New Normal

The breakup of a marriage often involves heated, angry, hurt feelings. Despite this, many couples identify maintaining family harmony as a top goal in reorganizing their lives and moving their separate ways.

Collaborative law with Pittsburgh family law attorneys is a way to work through the details of a divorce in a fair, cordial, private and cost-effective manner. It facilitates communication between the divorcing spouses to enable them to make decisions about their family’s future for themselves, rather than being bound by what a judge decrees.

Though collaborative divorces have been around for some time, the process is gaining popularity and clout with the added recognition from state lawmakers. In June, The Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act was signed into law, creating a uniform standard of practice in Pennsylvania for collaborative divorces for the first time.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of a collaborative divorce, here are the key elements addressed in the Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act:

  • Each spouse is represented by an attorney and enters into a participation agreement with the goal of preparing a legally binding agreement which resolves all issues pertaining to the divorce without going to court.
  • Attorneys and other professionals involved in the collaborative process undergo rigorous training, learning to diffuse conflict and foster a respectful environment that promotes open communication.
  • The parties agree at the outset of the process that, should they fail to negotiate a resolution, they will each be required to retain new counsel at new law firms for any subsequent litigation.
  • The parties meet to address all elements of the divorce, including custody, support and the division of property.
  • Frequently the parties engage the assistance of specialized experts such as tax accountants, financial planners, parenting coaches and counselors who are jointly retained by the parties to provide them with information that aids in decision making.
  • Aside from filing the divorce complaint and decree, the collaborative process is completely private.

Collaborative law is an ideal process if both parties want to avoid the courtroom and are interested in an amicable relationship with their former spouse. Many times the process results in creative solutions benefitting both of the divorcing spouses and any children involved.

Collaborative divorce has the additional benefits of taking less time and money than a litigated divorce. No formal court filings and jointly hired experts typically translate into lower legal fees and scheduling the process around the parties’ needs. The process can happen in as quickly as four months.

To discuss the particulars of your case and see if collaborative divorce could be the best process for your family, fill out our online contact form or call our Pittsburgh family law attorneys at (412) 471-9000 and speak with one of our collaboratively trained attorneys, Candice L. Komar, Joseph R. WilliamsStephanie L. Jablon, Robert D. Raver and John C. Scialabba.

About the Author

Candice L. Komar, founding partner of Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC, is a strong litigator, trained mediator and collaborative law attorney who often deals with divorces involving closely held businesses, complex issues and high net worth individuals. A fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and recognized by local and national awards programs for her business sense and family law leadership, particularly in collaborative law, Candice is also often tapped by media to discuss hard-hitting custody and divorce cases.

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