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Collaborative divorce legislation passes Ohio Senate

If there's one thing that divorcing parties, attorneys and courts in Ohio can agree on, it is that divorces should be quicker and easier. The scheduling problems and legal wrangling that often plagues divorces is far too costly and emotionally draining.

While some parties opt for a collaborative divorce, most couples do not realize that it is an option. This may change with the passage of the Collaborative Family Law Act.

This new legislation will allow divorcing couples to work towards settlements through voluntary meetings with their attorneys and any other professionals (e.g. accountants, financial planners or psychologists)deemed necessary to facilitate solutions. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the case would proceed to trial.

The benefit of the collaborative process is that it focuses on solutions as opposed to proving right and wrong (and inevitably winners and losers). Through the traditional adversarial process, each party's attorney focuses on advancing their client's legal interests, and the goal is typically on winning. Conversely, the collaborative process requires parties pledge to exchange information openly and honestly, and attorneys are bound to helping them reach an amicable agreement. If no agreement is reached, the attorneys cannot represent the parties at trial.

Also, collaborative divorces are generally less costly and quickly resolved compared to traditional divorces. Most collaborative proceedings are resolved in a few meetings. Traditional divorces typically go through a discovery process and may include several motions before going to trial. By the time a final order is issued, divorcing parties could spend upwards of $35,000 in attorney's fees. In contrast, parties can save thousands in fees through the collaborative process.

If you have questions about whether collaborative divorce is for you, an experienced attorney can advise you.

Source: Cleveland.com, Divorce cases could be easier in Ohio with new legislation, December 5, 2012

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