Dedicated Family Law Attorneys
Indiana Collaborative Divorce Attorney
The conventional divorce process is not suited for spouses who wish to end their marriage in a spirit of cooperation. The adversarial legal process pits each spouse against the other in a “win-lose” contest. What is the alternative? If you and your spouse wish to work cooperatively to end your marriage, a collaborative divorce may be the solution.
An Indiana collaborative divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you and your spouse work together to settle the division of the marital estate and resolve child custody and support issues so you can establish the foundation for a successful new two-household family.
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Choose an Indiana Collaborative Divorce Attorney for Non-Adversarial Divorce
Divorce doesn’t have to be adversarial. If you and your spouse agree to end your marriage but wish to negotiate its end in a way that is a win for each of you, collaborative divorce may be the answer. Both spouses retain a collaborative divorce attorney to provide guidance through an assisted negotiation process. These specially trained attorneys and, perhaps, other relevant professionals can facilitate the resolution of all matters arising in your divorce, saving both spouses time, money, and unnecessary additional stress.
When you hire an Indiana collaborative divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you know you’re working with a skilled attorney who knows Indiana family law yet recognizes your right and desire to negotiate a settlement to satisfy both you and your spouse.
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What Is a Collaborative Divorce?
The collaborative divorce process allows spouses to negotiate the settlement of all issues arising from the end of the marriage with the guidance of separate legal counsel and other relevant professionals but without going to court.
Unlike a divorce negotiated and concluded without counsel, each spouse participating in a collaborative divorce has the benefit of legal advice from an attorney whose goal is to facilitate a mutually agreeable outcome.
An Indiana collaborative divorce attorney advises clients on the legal rights and obligations incident to divorce with the goal of reaching a settlement that satisfies each spouse’s goals. All divorce-related issues are subject to negotiation, including property settlement, child-related issues, and other matters necessary for moving forward as a family of separate households.
For their part, collaborative divorce clients must agree to certain terms in order to use the process. Three of the key terms are:
- Avoid going to court to resolve disputes
- Exchange relevant information openly and honestly
- Communicate openly and honestly about divorce and post-divorce goals
If a party breaks these or other terms imposed for participation in the process, the collaborative divorce attorney must withdraw and may not represent either spouse going forward.
No divorce can avoid legal proceedings altogether, so the parties will still have a divorce action. However, if they resolve all matters through the collaborative process, the divorce could be concluded without any need to appear in court. Once the parties have reached an agreement on all issues to be resolved in the divorce, their attorneys will put it into writing in a form acceptable to the court and submit a summary dissolution decree and settlement agreement for the court’s approval.
Working with an Indiana collaborative divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP gives you the benefit of extensive family law litigation experience combined with the ability to help amenable spouses navigate the collaborative divorce process.
The Benefits of the Collaborative Process
The collaborative divorce process offers many benefits for spouses open to settling divorce-related matters for the mutual benefit of themselves and their children:
- Avoid the time and cost of litigation
- Avoid having the divorce case publicly played out in court
- Avoid delays caused by a congested court calendar
- Enjoy more control over the process and its timing
- Have the opportunity to use neutral professionals to advise on financial and other matters
With more control over the process and a cooperative approach, spouses can also better control the costs of their divorce.
Clients often question how collaborative divorce is different than mediation. Like mediation, collaborative divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution, a way of resolving legal matters outside of litigation. Both mediation and collaborate divorce avoid the need for courtroom appearances and allow legal counsel to advise a client, but the goals are very different. A mediation is moderated by a neutral third party, and each spouse may have his or her own independent counsel.
However, there is no requirement to avoid the winner-takes-all mentality, which can hinder instead of foster reaching an agreement. Alternatively, the collaborative process insists on completely open communication regarding divorce goals and the information necessary to address divorce-related matters and encourages settlements that satisfy both parties.
An Indiana collaborative divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP helps clients understand how a collaborative divorce works and facilitates settlement negotiations to make the most of the process.
How the Collaborative Process Works
The process begins when you hire a collaborative divorce attorney. Each spouse and each attorney signs a collaborative law participation agreement, which outlines the goals and rules of the process. In addition to detailing the goals of the process, collaborative participation agreements commonly include terms like these:
- The collaborative divorce process will terminate if either spouse or a spouse’s attorney pursues litigation to resolve any disputes
- The collaborative attorney may not represent either spouse in any matters related to the divorce in litigation
- The spouses agree to negotiate in good faith and openly and honestly exchange all relevant information, including goals for the divorce
- The settlement negotiations are confidential and cannot be used in any divorce proceedings outside of the collaborative process
- Written interim and final agreements executed through the collaborative divorce process are enforceable as contracts
Once a collaborative divorce attorney is retained a collaborative participation agreement is executed, the spouses and their attorneys will establish a schedule of meetings to negotiate the terms of the divorce. Each party may be required to prepare for a meeting, such as by gathering and sharing documentation like financial records. Through the series of meetings, the spouses negotiate the settlement agreement that covers all issues in their divorce, including:
The spouses may also engage neutral professionals to help explain their finances, mental health matters relating to a spouse or the children, or other matters that could have a bearing on settlement negotiations but may not be readily understood.
Through the series of meetings, the parties work to reach an agreement on these and other necessary points to be resolved before they can go their separate ways. During the process, the parties may enter into short-term agreements on how to deal with certain issues in the interim before the divorce is final.
Ultimately, a successful collaborative process results in a settlement agreement filed in the parties’ divorce case pending at court. Once the court reviews and approves the parties’ agreement, it issues a dissolution decree and judgment approving the settlement agreement, finalizing the divorce.
An attorney with significant experience in divorce and other family law matters is best qualified to facilitate the collaborative process. Indianapolis collaborative attorneys should also be familiar with the culture and approach of the local courts to collaborative divorce. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you’ll find talented and experienced Indiana divorce attorneys grounded in formal training from the Central Indiana Association of Collaborative Professionals.
What Happens if Negotiations Fail?
The success of the collaborative divorce process depends in large part on open and honest participation, communication, and negotiation by the spouses. If disagreements arise that they cannot resolve without litigation, or if either party breaks a covenant or promise in the participation agreement, the collaborative process terminates.
If the collaborative process were to terminate due to a breach of the participation agreement, a collaborative attorney may not represent the spouses going forward in the divorce. At that point, each spouse desiring representation would need to hire new counsel, who would help the client determine a new strategy for resolving disputes in the case. With or without counsel, the parties may attempt to negotiate a settlement using mediation or litigate matters on which they cannot agree.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP Has Your Indiana Collaborative Divorce Attorney
To participate in a successful collaborative process, you need an Indiana collaborative divorce attorney who understands and explains your rights under Indiana family law but will foster a negotiation process that makes paramount the goals you and your spouse hold dear.
While you need an attorney that will nurture the settlement process, you will also benefit from consulting one with a deep understanding of Indiana family law and how divorce matters play out in court. When choosing among Indianapolis collaborative attorneys, your search will lead unerringly to Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we use methods gleaned from training by the Central Indiana Association of Collaborative Professionals to guide our clients on legal matters and negotiation options to encourage mutually agreeable settlements. Based on our acknowledged litigation skills and experience, we also share with clients our perspective on how similar matters fare in litigation.