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What Is Collaborative Divorce In New Jersey?

While many New Jersey divorce cases become contentious with both sides fighting over everything from custody of children to property to assets, there are circumstances under which a divorce is not an endless battle between the participants. In a collaborative divorce, the parties reach their agreement in an amicable, gentle manner.

With a collaborative divorce, the intention is for both sides to enter into non-adversarial negotiations so that they can agree on all the issues in the divorce. This includes the division of the assets, property, who will care for the children, where the children will live, what the alimony and child support payments will be among many other issues. Is short, the collaborative process is meant to take the endless disputes that are a part of many divorces and either eliminate them or reduce them significantly.

What Happens In A Collaborative Divorce In Ocean County?

collective divorce

With a collaborative divorce, the spouses will come to an agreement on the foundational issues regarding the divorce with the help of professional collaborative attorneys. The lawyers will help their clients to decide on how the marital assets will be split, where the children will live, and all other factors that need to be negotiated. The spouses will meet with their lawyers separately, and then both parties (each represented by an attorney) will gather together at a four-way conference to discuss their particular positions and come to solutions on how to achieve their desired results with the divorce. This conference may also include one or more non-party participants who are not attorneys, but who are professionals or experts in their fields. For example, the following experts may join in the collaborative divorce proceedings if the parties agree:

Child Expert: A child specialist will provide a voice for the children. The child specialist is a mental health expert who meets individually with the children and adds their voices to the collaborative process.

Financial Expert: : There can be joint or separate financial specialists who will work with the parties to project their future need and how different support scenarios, and equitable distribution scenarios, will impact each party. A neutral financial expert can be very useful in showing how different offers on the table impact both parties.

Accountant Expert: When a family business is involved, a neutral forensic accountant trained in collaborative divorce will work with both parties and counsel to evaluate the business in the most efficient way possible. There is an exchange of information to facilitate the evaluation.

Mortgage Expert: A mortgage specialist trained in collaborative divorce will work with the parties regarding refinancing, mortgages, or obtaining new mortgages during and following the divorce.

It is customary that a collaborative attorney will not continue representing the client in the event that the effort to reach an agreement in a collaborative divorce fails. The purpose of a collaborative divorce is to complete a divorce agreement without having to go to court. Divorce court is a place for divorce litigation attorneys whereas collaborative attorneys have a goal of settling the case to the satisfaction of both spouses rather than entering court to go before a judge.

How Collaborative Divorce Proceedings Conclude

If there is an agreement on the terms of a divorce stemming from the negotiations in a collaborative setting, a family court judge will be required to sign off on the deal. As soon as there is an agreement, the divorce will quickly be finalized without the arguing and costs that accompany a conventional, in-court litigated divorce proceeding.

Any signed settlement resulting from the collaborative divorce process is legally binding and recognized in a court of law. However, a resolution in terms of a settlement is not always reached during the process. If that is the case, the proceeding will head the traditional route and go to court.

A collaborative divorce proceeding can end in a number of ways. Outside of a signed settlement agreement, the process may be terminated if:

  • A party gives notice to other parties on the record that the process is ended, which a party may do with or without cause
  • A party files a document with the court without the agreement of all parties that initiates a proceeding related to the family law dispute without the agreement of all parties
  • Either party is subject to or obtains a restraining order of any kind
  • An action for emergency relief is requested from a tribunal to protect the health, safety, welfare, or interests of a party,
  • A party discharges their collaborative family lawyer,
  • A party fails to provide information that is necessary to resolve the dispute and this leads to another party terminating the collaborative process or
  • A collaborative family lawyer ceases further representation of a party

How Can A Collaborative Divorce Be Beneficial?

The collaborative process is meant to keep the sides on good terms on a post-divorce basis. It reduces the amount of conflict and the costs associated with a divorce. It will keep the spouses' situations stable rather than not knowing what's going to happen next as would be the case in a divorce litigation. The sides will share information on a voluntary basis rather than having to be forced to produce information through the discovery process. The end result will have to be agreed to by both sides, so each will be pleased with how the case is ending. The issues that are usually a concern after the divorce will also be taken care of beforehand.

Speak With A Monmouth County Collaborative Divorce Lawyer today!

Not every divorce has to be a long, drawn-out process that has both sides entrenched in their positions and fighting over the last pieces of the marriage to the satisfaction of neither. Some people would like to remain on good terms with their spouse even if there is a divorce and are not interested in having a scarring courtroom battle that will harm the relationship and the children's relationship with each parent. For couples who are willing to be reasonable and are interested in saving time and money while not demonizing the other spouse, collaborative divorce is a sound option. If you or a loved one are in the midst of a divorce or considering a divorce in Rumson, Red Bank, Little Silver, Shrewsbury or any other New Jersey town and feel that you would benefit from a collaborative divorce, the collaborative divorce attorneys at the Law Firm of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey are here to help.  Managing Partner Vincent C. De Luca is one of the founding members of the Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group, the first collaborative law group that was formed in the State of New Jersey.  He perviously served as the group President and was also a member of the Executive Board of the group for a number of years.   Mr. De Luca has many years of experience practicing Collaborative divorce law.  He is one of only a few Collaboratively trained divorce lawyers that practice law primarily in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey. 

Other Resources For Collaborative Divorce

Seperating Marital Property

Shared Parenting In New Jersey Divorces

New Jersey Divorce Process

Psychological Stages Of Divorce

Whether you are from Monmouth County, Ocean County or anywhere else in New Jersey, the lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. can help. Call 732-751-4991 today to learn about a New Jersey collaborative divorce!

Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.