Maximizing Your Property Division Agreement Through the Collaborative Divorce Process - Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis

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Maximizing Your Property Division Agreement Through the Collaborative Divorce Process

Jennifer R. Piper

Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally draining process, especially when it comes to dividing assets. Property division can quickly become a contentious issue, with both parties fighting tooth and nail to get what they believe is rightfully theirs. However, there is a better way to handle property division during a divorce. Collaborative divorce is a process that allows both parties to work together and come up with a mutually beneficial agreement. This approach can save time, money, and emotional stress for everyone involved. Through the collaborative process, you can maximize your property division agreement and ensure that both parties walk away feeling satisfied with the outcome.

What is Property Division and Why is it Important?

When a couple decides to divorce, one of the most important issues is the division of their assets and debts ("property division"). The property can include real estate, personal property, financial assets, and retirement benefits. It is important to note that not all property is subject to division, and the laws governing property division vary from state to state or based on other rules. For example, company stock owned by an employee-spouse may not be transferrable to the non-employee spouse.

Property division is important because it can impact the financial well-being of both parties after the divorce. The division of property can also be emotionally charged, as each party may have a strong attachment to certain assets. Property division can also have implications for child custody and support, as the division of property can impact each party's ability to provide for their children.

The Traditional Approach to Property Division During Divorce

Traditionally, property division during a divorce has been a contentious and adversarial process. Each party hires their own attorney, and each attorney advocates for their client's interests. The parties may also hire experts, such as appraisers or accountants, to help determine the value of the property.

The traditional approach to property division can be time-consuming and expensive. The parties may spend months or even years fighting over their property in court, which can take a toll on their emotional and financial well-being. Additionally, the traditional approach can be unpredictable, as the outcome is ultimately determined by a judge who may not be familiar with the parties' unique circumstances.

How Collaborative Divorce Can Save Time, Money, and Emotional Stress During Property Division

Collaborative divorce is a process that allows both parties to work together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. In collaborative, each party hires their own attorney, but the attorneys are trained in collaborative law and are committed to working together to help the parties reach an agreement. Additionally, the parties may also hire experts, such as financial planners or child specialists, to help them make informed decisions.

Collaborative divorce often saves time, money, and emotional stress because it allows the parties to avoid the adversarial and time-consuming process of traditional litigation. The parties work together to identify their goals and interests and then brainstorm ways to meet those goals, rather then the approach the court often applies which is splitting all assets 50-50. Collaborative divorce is particularly beneficial in property division because the parties can work together to determine the value of the property and identify creative solutions for dividing it.

Steps for Dividing Property in Collaborative Divorce

The parties first meet with their attorneys and identify their goals and interests. The parties then work together to identify their assets and debts and gather information about their value.

Once the parties have gathered all the necessary information, with the help of the financial neutral, they work together with the professional team to brainstorm options for dividing the property. The parties are able to explore unique solutions that work for them in attempt to meet everyone's goals, such as dividing certain assets or debts, selling certain assets and dividing the proceeds, or trading assets of equal value. The financial neutral on the team is able to speak to tax implications of dividing or trading certain assets, providing a helpful perspective during these meetings.

Once the parties have agreed on a property division agreement, the attorneys draft a formal agreement that is signed by both parties. The agreement is then submitted to the court for approval.

After the Judgment is entered, the team helps ensure that all property is properly divided and assist in transfers titles on real property and motor vehicles.

Tips for Maximizing Your Property Division Agreement Through Collaborative Divorce

If you are considering collaborative divorce for property division during your divorce, there are several tips that can help you maximize your agreement:

  1. Be open-minded: collaborative divorce involves working together to find creative solutions. Be willing to consider options that may be outside of your initial preferences.
  2. Be honest: collaborative divorce requires open and honest communication. Be upfront about your goals and interests, and be willing to listen to the other party's goals and interests.
  3. Be patient: collaborative divorce can take time, but the end result can be worth it. Be patient and trust the process.
  4. Work with experienced professionals: collaborative divorce requires attorneys and other professionals who are trained in the collaborative process. Work with professionals who have experience in collaborative divorce and are committed to helping you reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
  5. Keep the focus on the future: collaborative divorce is about finding solutions that work for both parties. Keep the focus on the future and what will be best for you and your family after the divorce.

Common Misconceptions About Collaborative Divorce and Property Division

One misconception is that collaborative divorce is only for amicable divorces. In reality, collaborative divorce can be beneficial in any divorce situation, including those involving contentious property division issues, as long as parties are committed to fully disclosing all financial information requested and being respectful. Even in contested cases, most all financial information is disclosed through formal and informal discover in a divorce case.

Another misconception is that collaborative divorce is not effective in complex property division cases. In reality, collaborative divorce can be extremely effective in the most complex property division cases, as long as the parties are committed to working together to find creative solutions.

Finally, some people believe that collaborative divorce is more expensive than traditional litigation. In reality, collaborative divorce can be more cost-effective than traditional litigation, as it can help the parties avoid costly court battles and lengthy court proceedings.

Next Steps for Utilizing Collaborative Divorce in Your Divorce Proceedings

Property division can quickly become a contentious issue, with both parties fighting tooth and nail to get what they believe is rightfully theirs. However, there is a better way to handle property division during a divorce. Collaborative divorce is a process that allows both parties to work together and come up with a mutually beneficial agreement. This approach can save time, money, and emotional stress for everyone involved.

If you are considering collaborative divorce, the first step is to find an attorney who is trained in collaborative. Your attorney can help you understand the collaborative divorce process and can help you identify your goals and interests. From there, you can work together with your attorney and the other party to identify creative solutions for dividing your property.

Collaborative divorce can be a powerful tool for maximizing your property division agreement and ensuring that both parties walk away feeling satisfied with the outcome. By working together, you can avoid the adversarial and time-consuming process of traditional litigation and instead focus on finding solutions that work for everyone involved.

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