Divorces in Flagstaff can be extremely difficult, putting a strain on the entire family. The traditional process can involve long disputes in court and tens of thousands of dollars spent in legal fees. Collaborative divorce is an alternative to the traditional divorce process that can save time, stress, and money. The process involves spouses who are getting divorced working as a team with their lawyers to find agreements on key disputed issues outside of the courtroom setting.
Issues handled during the collaborative divorce process include child support, child visitation, spousal support, and asset and debt division. For parents wanting to secure the protection of their child, collaborative divorce cases can be a way to quickly and efficiently reach a resolution.
The distinguished divorce lawyers at Glazer, Hammond, Ruben & Smets, PLLC have years of experience working in this innovative and collaborative field of family law. Whether you are facing a complex case with high assets and many children or have a simple case after being married for just a few years with few assets, our Flagstaff collaborative divorce attorneys can help you and your spouse reach an agreement quickly so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life. Jennifer B. Ruben is one of four attorneys who is certified in collaborative divorce in Northern Arizona and has the knowledge to guide you through the process.
Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a group of strategies that involve coming to a common agreement among private parties, which do not engage in the traditional court system. The advantages of leveraging ADR strategies is that they typically take less time, are less formal, often times cost less than court proceedings, and result in less conflict overall.
Some of the most common forms of ADR are:
Traditional legislation, when compared with ADR, is typically longer, more expensive, and more stressful. Overall, ADR is typically preferred because it can result in common solutions that keep relationships intact and benefit all parties and their children in the long run.
Collaborative divorce and mediation are both strategies that involve reaching settlements in divorce cases in a cooperative manner and are alternatives to the traditional adversarial divorce proceedings.
During mediation, the couple hires a third neutral party, who is known as a mediator. This mediator can be a lawyer who offers mediation services. A key aspect to note is that the mediator is not directly representing either spouse or actively making any decisions. The mediator is there to serve as a middle ground between the divorcing couple. An experienced mediator will help guide the parties towards collaborative resolution by helping them communicate more clearly with each other, listening to what their key concerns are, and offering potential solutions.
In a collaborative divorce, on the other hand, each spouse hires their own attorney to represent them. Other professionals who can support the divorce, such as child specialists, therapists, and financial specialists, may be involved as well, depending on the specific needs of the divorce. Collaborative divorce puts an emphasis on active cooperation and informed negotiation as opposed to arguing the issues out in the courtroom.
Ultimately, the key difference between collaborative divorce and mediation is the amount of involvement from the lawyers. In collaborative divorce, there is a lawyer for each spouse providing legal advice. In mediation, there is just one neutral party helping to guide and facilitate agreements. If you are trying to decide on whether mediation or collaborative divorce is right for your family, it’s advisable to reach out to a knowledgeable family lawyer for a consultation to go over the options available to you and your situation.
All divorces can be loosely categorized as contested, or uncontested, based solely on how easily or readily the parties are able to come to an agreement. There is no formal designation of contested or uncontested divorces in Arizona, but it is helpful terminology when defining your own case.
In an uncontested divorce, each of the parties getting divorced come to an agreement on fundamental issues surrounding the divorce, such as allocation of debt, splitting of property, custody of children and spousal maintenance, or alimony. Uncontested divorce tends to be quicker, cheaper and overall less stressful since there are no major disputes that have to be resolved within the courtroom. Uncontested divorces also typically end with both parties more likely to have a healthy relationship in the future.
A contested divorce is when two parties are not able to come to an agreement or able to negotiate the important terms of the divorce. Unfortunately, this method of divorce typically leads to more conflict in the long run, as well as higher legal fees, and a more drawn-out divorce. To solve disputes associated with a contested divorce, couples can opt for mediation or have a judge rule on the case in court.
If you are considering a divorce in Flagstaff and want it to be streamlined, an uncontested divorce is the recommended route to follow. However, if there are key issues that you and your spouse cannot agree on, it may be more advisable to hire a lawyer who can advocate on your behalf in a contested divorce case.
Collaborative divorce is a healthy alternative to the traditional divorce process. It encourages the collaboration between parting spouses with the help of their respective lawyers and other supporting professionals. The goal of collaborative divorce is to find a settlement that works for both parties. If there are children involved in the divorce, their needs and support networks are considered in the decision as well. Agreements reached in the collaborative process tend to be more beneficial and sustainable as the years go on.
It needs to be noted that in collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own respective lawyer who should have extensive training in collaborative divorce proceedings. All parties work together over several meetings to reach an agreement on important divorce disputes. Depending on the complexity of the divorce, the willingness of each spouse to cooperate, and the experience and skill of the supporting attorneys, the duration of this process can last a few weeks to a couple of months.
Other professionals who can assist in the collaborative divorce process include financial experts, who can help evaluate community property and provide informed guidance on how to divide this property, as well as shared assets, as well as support networks for any children involved.
Many divorcing couples in Flagstaff, Coconino County, and throughout northern Arizona, have chosen the option of having a collaborative divorce. Some of the key advantages of this process are:
Couples in Arizona are choosing to get a divorce via the collaborative divorce process because it provides a refreshing opportunity to resolve outstanding issues in a creative, innovative, and collaborative manner.
While the goal of collaborative divorce is to reach an agreement between both spouses on all outstanding issues related to the divorce, it is possible to reach a partial signed agreement. This means that the parties will agree on some issues, while the outstanding ones will have to be argued in court. For example, if the parties did not come to an agreement on a parenting plan agreement, an Arizona family court judge will need to rule on the case, to determine which parent is granted custody and what the parenting schedule will look like.
A Flagstaff collaborative divorce lawyer has the critical job of aiding two parties working through a divorce with tools and support to collaborate in the settlement process to find solutions that work for both parties. Some of the main responsibilities and roles of a collaborative divorce lawyer are to:
The responsibilities of a collaborative divorce lawyer are numerous and require both flexibility and loyalty from both the lawyer and client. An excellent collaborative divorce lawyer is well-informed on Arizona state law, an excellent communicator, and has the interests of the client at heart.
If you are going through a divorce in Flagstaff and have children, the process you choose can have an enormous impact on your child’s well-being. It is therefore essential to keep the following considerations in mind.
One of the most difficult parts of a divorce can be agreeing on what the child custody arrangement should be, especially if the parents have conflicting ideas about what the parenting schedule should look like. Therefore, during a divorce, it’s important to stay open and honest with the other spouse to ensure that the resulting plan is optimal for your children.
A mediator or collaborative divorce lawyer can help facilitate the child custody negotiation process to help make the divorce and custody arrangement less divisive.
To calculate child support, Arizona courts use particular guidelines that take into account the income of each spouse, the age of the children, as well as health insurance, education, and other special needs associated with the children. The amount of child support can also be adjusted based on physical custody and how much each parent is able to contribute financially.
It should be noted that in any divorce proceedings or process, parents have the flexibility and freedom to agree on what they think is appropriate for child support as a family.
It’s critical to try to maintain the presence of both parents in the life of a child after divorce. The child will need more support than usual, especially in the months and years directly after the divorce. It’s important to maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship by maintaining clear and frequent communication with the other parent. Additional tips for maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship include:
Because divorce can shake the foundation of a child’s world, it can be useful to get them a counselor to help them talk through their experience and develop coping strategies for their new way of life. By providing your children with counseling, you are giving them powerful tools for working through personal issues, which can provide potential benefits as they navigate new and complicated emotions.
If you are considering divorce or taking the first steps to solidify the divorce process, it is critical to consider other options than traditional divorce. Collaborative divorce can open new doors for your future, while keeping the bonds of the past intact. Our Flagstaff collaborative divorce attorneys at Glazer, Hammond, Ruben & Smets, PLLC are here to listen to your questions and concerns and help you find the path forward in the divorce process. Reach out to our dedicated legal team today.