Divorce is never fun – no matter what the divorce parties and wedding-dress burnings may have you believe. But, sometimes, it is necessary. That’s where Corridor-based Cleaves Family Law comes in. This law firm, under Rhonda Cleaves, is all about helping families handle the end of a marriage outside of the courtroom, where it’s a more peaceful situation for all.
“Families don’t belong in the courtroom, and divorcing couples don’t have to engage in war to move on with life,” stated a recent Facebook post on Cleaves Family Law’s page. “When divorce is the only option, a collaborative divorce offers a way to end a marriage outside of the courtroom.”
Collaborative divorce is an alternative to litigation. After all, most families would prefer to settle things outside of court. In this process, both clients, their attorneys and jointly retained professionals meet in a series of private sessions to gather information, develop options and achieve settlement. The objective? Creating a win-win situation, keeping your family out of the courtroom and reaching an agreement that meets both of your goals. Sounds pretty great, right? That’s because it is! Anything that will make your life easier during a difficult time is definitely worth it.
According to Cleaves Family Law, collaborative divorce has four main advantages: cost, privacy, control and communication.
Often, when family law matters are resolved using collaborative divorce, they end up being less costly than litigation. Part of the reason is because you have more control over the process, so you have the ability to regulate your costs. The process also allows for the joint hiring of neutral professionals to assist in the development of parenting plans and property division options. Additionally, cost is minimized by avoiding the expensive process of written discovery and depositions.
Next, a collaborative divorce maximizes privacy. To initiate the process, each party must sign an agreement stating (among other things) that all meetings and negotiations are strictly confidential. The professionals involved are also prohibited from disclosing information about your case. Compared to litigation, when almost every aspect of your case is made public – including hearings and final trials where friends and family are required to testify.
That leads to point three: increased control. In a collaborative divorce, you and your team control the length and pace of the case. Meetings are scheduled conveniently around your life, as opposed to conforming to a judge’s schedule in litigation. You negotiate and control the outcome for yourself and your children, where you can create an outcome where everyone wins.
Finally, a collaborative divorce allows for open communication between the two partners – something that is especially important if you will continue a co-parenting relationship together after the divorce. “As seen on television, litigation has the special ability to drive a wedge between divorcing parents, making it difficult for their children for years to come at graduations, weddings, births and birthday parties for their grandchildren,” according to Cleaves Family Law. “The collaborative divorce process provides the opportunity for parents to resolve their disputes more amicably, building better postdivorce relationships for the benefit of their children.”
Many people going through the collaborative divorce process will realize that many of their interests align. The challenge is to create solutions that maximize achievement of shared interests and minimize the impact of the conflicting ones.
“At our firm, we have extensive training and experience in the collaborative divorce process, assisting clients with these important matters,” stated Cleaves Family Law’s website.
Rhonda Cleaves began practicing law in 1995. After leaving a successful civil trail practice in 2005, she started concentrating on family law. Specifically, Cleaves worked to help families transition to postdivorce life. She now practices exclusively in this area. Helping with divorce is personally for Cleaves, as she grew up in a divorced family, so she understands the challenges families are faced when going through a divorce. Her objective is to guide parents through the divorce process and help them move to that next chapter of their lives.
If you’ve had a good experience with Rhonda Cleaves from Cleaves Family Law, then vote for her in the Addison – The Guide’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards. Cleaves is nominated in the favorite family law firm category. Voting is open now through Oct. 23.