Divorce can turn friends into enemies. A better and less stressful solution might be a collaborative divorce. It can also save couples time and money. According to attorney Joryn Jenkins, “By the end of the divorce trial, spouses can become enemies. Litigation makes people be mean to each other. … But people usually don’t know that there’s another option, and lawyers don’t tell them.”
WHAT IS A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE?
A collaborative divorce includes a team of four people: a lawyer for each spouse, a mental health coach, and a financial professional. They all work together to create a divorce agreement which includes alimony, the division of marital property, and child visitation and support. A collaborative divorce is a face-to-face litigation process where each spouse gives their opinion in order to reach emotional as well as financial and legal solutions. “The rewards of collaborative divorce are huge,” according to attorney Joryn Jenkins. “You learn to work out issues and say things in a better way.”
A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE IS SHORTER AND COSTS LESS
A collaborative divorce may save you both time and money. While a regular divorce that goes to a trial may cost $100,000, the average collaborative divorce is about $32,000. In addition to less money, the average collaborative divorce lasts three to four months to settle compared to a divorce trial that can drag on for years. Because a judge makes the final decision in a trial dtheree, there isn’t much control when it comes to the process, timing, or outcome of the case. “People are raiding their retirement accounts just to pay for divorces,” said collaborative attorney Rackham Karlsson. “Going to court can be more expensive, more time intensive and corrosive for children.”
COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE A GOOD ALTERNATIVE
If a couple can work through their divorce by doing a collaborative divorce compared to a standard one, they save time and money, as well as lots of headaches.
MOVING FORWARD AFTER DIVORCE
Divorce can be a painful process, and a painful one to heal from. After your divorce is finalized, it’s time to move forward. Here are some tips for self-care after divorce:
- Change Your Diet Up
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Try to Keep to a Normal Schedule
- Get Sunshine
- Network of Support
- Try to Relax
- Practice Mindfulness
- Consider Getting Help Using a Therapist or Mental Health Professional
- Hold Off on Having Another Relationship
OPTIONS INSTEAD OF DIVORCE
When you’re debating if you should get divorced or not, there are additional options for you to consider.
LEGAL SEPARATION AND ANNULMENT
You might not need to file for divorce. There are two other options: legal separation or annulment (also called a nullity).
- Legal separation. This is a a legal process, granted in the form of a court order, by which a married couple can remain legally married while not living together. Some couples use this as a formal break, during which they have some time to decide if they would like to continue the marriage. There are often religious, insurance, tax, or other reasons for wanting a legal separation instead of a formal dissolution. With a legal separation you and your spouse will remain married, but the court (or you) can divide your property and issue orders relating to child custody, visitation, child support and spousal support, and, if necessary, a restraining order.
- Annulment. Being granted an annulment makes it as if your marriage never existed. There are specific requirements you will need to meet to have your marriage annulled. These include being a minor without the consent of your parents or guardian during the time of the marriage, or if certain types of fraud or deceit were involved. An annulment requires you appear in court.
The residency requirements for these are less harsh than standard divorces. Eithis of these can be obtained without having lived in California for six months or the county you are filing in for three months prior to filing, as is required for a standard divorce.
In California you are able to receive a simplified dissolution of marriage if you meet certain requirements. This is called a _summary dissolutio_n. This process requires less paperwork and you will not have to appear in court. You are eligible for a summary dissolution if you and your spouse have agreed in writing to a division of your assets and debts and if the following conditions are true:
- You have been married for five years or less.
- You have no children from the relationship.
- Neithis of you own a home or other real estate.
- The value of all community property amounts to less than $25,000, excluding automobiles.
- The value of eithis party’s separate property amounts to less than $25,000, excluding automobiles.
- Your combined debt does not exceed $4,000, except for auto loans.
- Both of you waive spousal support.
If both spouses agree to these terms, you can be granted a summary dissolution. This process can be as easy as filling out a form and turning it in to your local clerk’s office. Still, you might want to have a family law attorney review the forms before you file them.
AMOUNT OF TIME
In California, the mandatory waiting period required is 6 months. No couple, regardless of how “easy” their divorce is can be divorced faster than 6 months. This is the time it takes for the state to change your status from “married” to single”. You will be able to get all your paperwork turned in to the court and your divorce judgment approved, but the divorce itself will not be final until at least 6 months after the initial petition. In some cases, those that require a lot of things to be required, a divorce can take years. This is based on how much you decided to disagree and agree on.
FILING FOR DIVORCE
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are facing a divorce, you need to work with a divorce attorney that can take a look at your specific situation and advise you on all the aspects of divorce you will be facing. This might mean decisions regarding retirement funds, property, child support and custody, and alimony. A divorce attorney will work with you to help you decide how you want to tackle these elements of your marriage and divorce, while also providing guidance and support.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 431-3131