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Collaborative law may be a better option for gray divorces

If you are in your 50s, you may have special concerns about your impending divorce. You are not the same person you were in your 30s, and your circumstances are such that a contentious courtroom battle may have few positive results to outweigh the negatives.

You and your spouse may wish to end your marriage on a more dignified note, and you dread a divorce process that promises to turn your amicable separation into a battle that may leave your relationship damaged forever. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

Your dirty laundry on the line

You may have gone through phases in your life where you eagerly shared personal information or didn't mind when your name was in the paper. These days, you may desire a more private life, keeping your business to yourself. The idea of identity theft may also worry you, and having the personal details of your finances on public record is not the ideal way to protect yourself from such harm. However, if you take your divorce through litigation, the following information will be on public record for anyone to access:

  • Your income
  • The value of your home and the balance on your mortgage
  • Any retirement funds or investments
  • Your debts
  • Your credit score

In addition to your financial information, any personal or particularly embarrassing information that comes out in the divorce will be part of the public record, including:

  • Infidelity or other marital misconduct
  • Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Accusations of unfit parenting or spousal mistreatment
  • Your health
  • Information about your children

Whether your children are small or grown, your divorce will affect them. Research shows that it may be the behavior of parents during the divorce process that impacts children even more than the fact of the divorce itself. Certainly, if your children are adults raising their own families, your litigious divorce may be problematic for them. Seeking a more civil and cooperative method of ending your marriage may benefit everyone involved.

The advantages of a collaborative divorce

Collaborative law not only keeps the details of your divorce from the public eye, it also allows you to maintain control of the circumstances that you may otherwise lose through Virginia family court proceedings. During collaborative divorce, you and your spouse gather with your individual attorneys and other professionals to negotiate the aspects of your divorce. Rather than ending with a ruling the court obligates you to obey, you and your spouse create a plan that works best for you.

In addition to privacy and control, you and your spouse may benefit from the rational, dignified nature of collaborative divorce. The goal of this method of divorce is to arrive at a reasonable and mutually agreeable settlement without the spirit of conflict that often exists in a courtroom. You and your spouse can even use the opportunity to address the very real emotional element of divorce, and you may elect to have counselors to help you through this.

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