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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
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Collaborative divorce: What is it?

While collaborative divorce has been happening in New Jersey for many years, it didn't become official until last year. The New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act made collaborative divorce the fourth legally sanctioned method of divorce in the state, with the others being litigate, arbitrate and mediate. At its most basic, a collaborative divorce is built around viewing the divorce process not as an opportunity to "win" but as a joint effort between both parties to work together toward mutual future goals.

Like a traditional divorce, both parties retain their own legal counsel for a collaborative divorce, but the attorneys are focused on helping the couple work out an agreement that is agreeable to all. Collaborative divorces also often involve other unbiased professionals, such as counselors or financial planners, who can provide advice on the terms of the divorce.

A collaborative divorce also usually involves signing a participation agreement early on in the process. This gives the two parties the added security that they are going to work through the collaborative process, which can take some time. These agreements also usually have a section that states what will happen if the collaborative process is not working and the divorce needs to be taken to the court. In many cases, the participation agreement will stipulate that the couple must retain new attorneys that were not part of the collaborative process.

Collaborative divorces are a viable option for many couples and can lessen both the emotional and financial burdens that come with divorce. These types of divorces only work if both parties are committed to the collaborative process. If this is not the case, traditional divorce litigation may be necessary.

Source: Daily Record, "New way to divorce taking root in NJ" Lorraine Ash, Feb. 22, 2015

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