Collaborative Divorce in Maryland

Contrary to popular belief, not every divorce case has to be heavily contested as an all-out fight, where it seems like the whole neighborhood is involved.  While people may get a kick out of watching celebrities drag each other through the mud on TMZ, nobody wants that in their own life, and, the truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In recent years, mediation and alternative dispute resolution have become increasingly popular. The mediation process can be used once a case is already in court, and the parties have difficulty working out an agreeable settlement; or, with the collaborative divorce process, it can be used well before the parties even file a case in the Maryland Circuit Court.

How Does the Collaborative Divorce Process work in Maryland?

In order to understand how the collaborative divorce process works, it is helpful to look at a typical case.  Let’s take the example of a couple who live in Chevy Chase and have decided their marriage is not working.  If both parties agree that it would be better for everyone involved to dissolve the marriage by getting a divorce, but they cannot agree on the specifics of how property should be divided, who should get primary custody of the minor children, the amount of child support a non-custodial parent should be required to pay, if there should be any alimony awarded, and, if so, how much, and any other important decisions, the collaborative divorce process may be the perfect solution.

The first thing the parties will do is speak with their respective Montgomery County divorce lawyers and start the collaborative divorce process. Once the parties have decided to try a collaborative divorce, their divorce attorneys will engage whatever collaborative professionals are helpful to the case.  When property is involved, and there are complicated investments and ownership interests in a business, for example, a financial planner would be helpful.  In some cases, especially with minor children, a mental health professional may be necessary.  In some cases, a CPA might be helpful to minimize tax consequences of any property division.

While the type of collaborative divorce professional might change from case to case, the point is to help the parties reach an agreement, so they may proceed to file an uncontested divorce.  As long as the agreement is remotely reasonable to the court and in the best interests of any minor children involved, the judge will most likely approve the agreement at the first opportunity and grant a no-fault divorce.   This will allow the parties to get through the process with respect and dignity and get on with their respective lives.

The collaborative divorce process is also generally helpful to the emotional wellbeing on any minor children.  Not only will the parents be able to work together during the divorce, but hopefully they can get along after the divorce, because they will be jointly involved in co-parenting for years to come.

The family law attorneys at DiPietro & Wise, LLC have years of experience handling domestic relations cases in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland.  Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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