If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Wichita, KS, it’s important to know how the process will unfold. It’s also wise to know your options when it comes to finalizing your divorce. Divorce can be an emotional issue, but not every divorce needs to end with a contentious court battle. It is also possible for a divorcing couple to work out their differences amicably and expedite the legal process of ending their marriage through collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is a non-contentious method of ending a marriage. It is most suitable for divorcing couples who generally agree on the terms of their divorce. When there is little room for argument in terms of child custody, support, and property division, the two divorcing spouses can transition from an outcome-focused approach to divorce to a problem-solving one. Essentially, collaborative divorce is a method of removing the “fight and win” mentality from a divorcing couple.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

The divorce process in Kansas is notoriously time consuming and expensive, but collaborative divorce can lead to a divorce decree in a fraction of that time and expense. In addition to saving time and money, collaborative divorce tends to follow the framework of divorce mediation. However, there may be more than one mediator who weighs in on the case.

Each of the divorcing spouses begin by meeting with their legal representatives and outlining their best-case scenario for the divorce negotiation. They should consider their limits as to how much they are willing to compromise before the meeting. The spouses and their attorneys will then meet to discuss the terms of their divorce privately, and several professional experts may play important roles in these negotiations. For example, a medical professional may need to provide an expert opinion about one of the spouse’s or their child’s medical condition. A forensic accountant may contribute an expert analysis of the couple’s shared finances, and other third-party professionals may also provide valuable insights throughout the process.

Collaborative divorce also eliminates the need to prepare for a lengthy court battle, in most cases. It’s common for a collaborative divorce negotiation to entail a “no court” agreement between the spouses and their legal representatives. This ensures the divorcing spouses and their attorneys do everything in their power to enable a swift collaborative divorce. If the couple is unable to achieve collaborative divorce and decides to move to litigation, the attorneys’ “no court” contract will require them to withdraw from the case.

If all goes well, collaborative divorce and divorce mediation can enable faster, more effective, and more respectfully maintained divorce rulings. The most important part of the collaborative divorce process is mediation, as the divorcing couple may agree on most aspects of their divorce, but not all of them. Mediation can help to round out these rough edges and help the divorcing couple end their marriage as quickly and painlessly as possible. It’s also an informal atmosphere, allowing the divorcing couple to negotiate the terms of their divorce in a relaxed, supportive, and neutral setting.

Tips for Divorce Mediation

Most collaborative divorce cases involve mediation on some level, whether it’s a neutral third-party mediator with the task of keeping the conversation focused, or a professional expert providing objective analysis over an aspect of the divorce. If you want your divorce mediation to be as productive and constructive as possible, a few best practices can help:

  • Keep an objective, open attitude. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse could have some deep-seated resentments between the two of you, or you may have mutually decided you’re unfit for one another and are ready to move on with your lives. Whatever the case may be, try to approach your divorce mediation sessions from a problem-solving angle instead of a winning-focused angle.
  • Be polite and cooperative. If you want to take full advantage of divorce mediation and collaborative divorce, it’s essential to separate your personal issues from the objective problems at hand. Keep careful track of your appointment times and arrive on time with all the materials you need for your session. It also helps to be as cordial as possible during discussions with your spouse and their legal counsel.
  • Work with a reliable attorney. Legal counsel is essential for collaborative divorce, but you may have the opportunity to negotiate with your spouse without your attorneys present. Your attorney can guide these interactions and help ensure that proceedings unfold properly while they are present. Your attorney’s job is to make sure your collaborative divorce proceeds fairly and to preserve your best interests.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you first meet with your attorney, you should be clear about your limits when it comes to negotiating the terms of your divorce. If you know the threshold for how much child support or alimony you will truly need following your divorce, or if you have specific concerns about property division, make sure your lawyer is aware of all of your goals and preferences. Ultimately, you may need to compromise on some of these issues, and your attorney can help you determine when you’ve reached a solid deal.
  • Be thorough. Every marriage is different; therefore, every collaborative divorce case will entail unique issues and problems that require attention on a case-by-case basis. One thing that is equally important for any collaborative divorce case is thoroughness. Work closely with your attorney to determine the aspects of your divorce that require the most attention and try to think with as much foresight as possible. Your goal with your divorce agreement should be to eliminate potential future confusion as much as possible.
  • Remember that you may need to come back. Despite your best efforts to negotiate the most comprehensive and futureproof divorce agreement possible, unexpected things can happen in the future that alter the nature of your divorce agreement. You may need to return to family court for a post-judgment modification, even after succeeding with a collaborative divorce.

Hopefully, these tips can help you get the most out of divorce mediation and the collaborative divorce process. It’s ultimately one of the best ways of ending a marriage in the legal sense, and it can be a swift and painless process with the right preparation and legal representation. If you need specific answers to questions about your unique situation, your best resource is an experienced Wichita, KS divorce attorney with solid experience handling collaborative divorce cases.