Collaborative Divorce in Alabama
Earlier this year Senator Cam Ward proposed Senate Bill 18, which proposes that Alabama adopt the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, which would provide divorcing couples with another method of resolution to their divorce. In this month’s blog we will discuss the collaborative divorce process.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative practice is a process in which both parties to a dispute and their attorneys commit to resolving a conflict using a cooperative rather than adversarial approach. An alternative form of dispute resolution, this allows the parties to avoid going to court to have a judge decide the issue. Instead, collaborative practice relies on the commitment of the parties and their attorneys to exercise honesty, cooperation, professionalism, and integrity in working toward the future well-being of both parties and, if there are children involved, the family. Non-adversarial participation allows the attorneys to use analysis and reasoning to solve problems, generate solutions, and create a positive context for settlement.
In collaborative practice, the parties are each represented by their own legal counsel who takes an active participatory role. Each attorney agrees that if the collaborative process fails to bring a resolution, the attorney will not represent the client in an adversarial proceeding. The parties are therefore committed to the success of the process, without the prospect of going to trial as a “fallback” position. The process is privileged and confidential, and communications during the process cannot later be used at trial, thereby encouraging the parties to be candid with each other.
How Successful is the Collaborative Process?
According to a survey of 502 divorces conducted by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 87 percent of the reported cases were resolved, 3 percent reconciled, and only 10 percent ended without a resolution.
Not every divorce can be resolved using the collaborative process, and not every divorce requires litigation. An experienced Alabama family law attorney can help you determine which process is the preferred method for your circumstances.
If you have questions regarding the collaborative divorce process or would like to explore whether the collaborative option is appropriate for your divorce, contact Lana Hawkins, Attorney at Law, at The Hawkins Law Firm, for advice and representation from an experienced Alabama divorce attorney.