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A gavel on a sound block with two wedding rings, on a lawyer's desk, and with an out-of-focus couple in the background.

Yes. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will work together to resolve all marriage issues, including asset and debt division, child custody, child support, and spousal support, without litigating the divorce in court.

Both parties must have an experienced divorce lawyer throughout the collaborative process for several reasons:

After you and your spouse have agreed about all marital issues, your lawyers will prepare a document you will review and sign if you find it satisfactory. The final step is presenting the agreement to a family court judge for inspection.

In most cases, the judge will go ahead and finalize your divorce. If the judge has any concerns about the agreement, they may call a hearing to discuss these.

Usually, any issues can be resolved quickly, and the divorce completed.

The collaborative agreement is legally binding and can’t be changed unless both parties agree to do so, with few exceptions.

If you find out later that your spouse fraudulently misrepresented vital information during the collaborative process, such as the value of assets, you might be able to get your divorce agreement reopened, but you will need evidence of the fraud.

Call your lawyer immediately if you suspect this might be the case.

How Much Does a Collaborative Divorce Cost?

It’s impossible to answer this question without knowing the specifics of your situation. Several factors can increase or decrease the cost of a collaborative divorce.

In general, divorces tend to be less expensive when the couple hasn’t been married long, has few or no marital assets to divide, and has no children. Here are some things to keep in mind about the cost of divorce:

What is Collaborative Law?

This term is often used in conjunction with discussions of collaborative divorce. Collaborative law is an umbrella term that refers to alternative dispute resolution used often in divorce, or other family law matters (like custody cases where the parties aren’t married).

It focuses on empowering people to work out their disputes after agreeing to specific negotiation terms beforehand.

Is a Collaborative Divorce Cheaper Than a Litigated One?

Sometimes, but not always. This is also dependent on your particular situation.

If the collaborative effort doesn’t work out, and you and your spouse need to restart the process with new lawyers, you may spend more money than if you had chosen a litigated divorce in the first place.

However, in some cases where the divorce is completed collaboratively, the parties may save money.

In many litigated divorces, the judge sends the couple to mediation to work things out independently, similar to a collaborative divorce, albeit supervised by a court-appointed mediator.

If your litigated divorce is settled this way, the costs may not be much higher than those of a collaborative divorce.

Are There Other Benefits to Collaborative Divorce?

In some situations, a collaborative divorce is faster because the parties don’t need to wait for multiple hearings in the Albuquerque family court.

You and your spouse can set your own schedule for when you want to agree on various issues, when you want to go over financial documents, when you want to finalize an agreement, etc.

However, sometimes the collaborative process takes longer than expected if an unforeseen issue arises.

For instance, if you thought that you and your spouse were generally on the same page about everything, then you find out they refuse to compromise on one key issue that you also feel strongly about, things may move much slower.

Another benefit is that collaboration allows the spouses to take charge of their lives instead of letting a judge decide on personal issues like where the children will live or who will keep specific assets.

Additionally, you may prefer to keep your divorce private rather than argue the issues in court. Some spouses also believe avoiding a litigated divorce may reduce stress for their children.

Contact a Collaborative Divorce Attorney in Downtown Albuquerque Today

The New Mexico Financial and Family Law Firm is here to help with your collaborative divorce or other family law matters. If you need assistance with your divorce, please contact us at (505) 503-1637 to discuss your options.

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