As of July 1, 2020, North Carolina has adopted a new means of resolving family law conflicts intended to reduce court costs and minimize the emotional toll on the families involved. This adopted conflict resolution method, called collaborative law, allows each spouse to sit down together with a team of attorneys, counselors, and consultants to amicably reach an agreement that works for everyone.
Collaborative law, as defined in N.C.G.S. §50-71, is “a procedure in which a husband and wife who are separated and are seeking a divorce, or are contemplating separation and divorce, and their attorneys agree to use their best efforts and make a good faith attempt to resolve their disputes arising from the marital relationship on an agreed basis. The procedure shall include an agreement by the parties to attempt to resolve their disputes without having to resort to judicial intervention, except to have the court approve the settlement agreement and sign the orders required by law to effectuate the agreement of the parties as the court deems appropriate. The procedure shall also include an agreement where the parties’ attorneys agree not to serve as litigation counsel, except to ask the court to approve the settlement agreement.”
During the collaborative law process, the couple has the option to hire professionals to assist in the facilitation of common divorce-related problems. These professionals may include accountants, property or business appraisers, mental health therapists, child welfare specialists, or other professionals necessary to resolve the issue at hand with minimal conflict.
The goal is to find solutions to issues that arise from legal separation and divorce without putting these solutions in the hands of a single-family law judge and creating additional friction between the separated couple. Unlike mediation, all participants in a collaborative divorce remain in the same conference room and discuss traditional and nontraditional ways to resolve disputes or points of disagreement between the couple. If successfully resolved, the couple’s respective parties then submit the necessary paperwork to a North Carolina court so that a final divorce decree may be issued.
Collaborative law addresses the same issues that would arise in court, including alimony, child custody, child support, and equitable distribution of marital assets. Collaborative divorce should be kept in mind as an alternate dispute resolution method
King Law Offices is a full-service law firm with an outstanding team of professionals who work diligently, creatively, and compassionately on behalf of our clients each day. If you have a current conflict with your ex-spouse involving a divorce yet want to keep communication as friendly as possible and bypass the judicial process, contact King Law at 888-748-KING (5464) for a consultation and mention your interest in a collaborative divorce. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. We are here to serve you and to guide you as we navigate this journey together.