Divorcing couples may not wish to have a family court judge decide what represents a fair property division. Under New York State’s equitable distribution laws, couples must split their marital assets fairly between them. What reflects “fairness,” however, can differ between two spouses.
Couples may instead opt for a collaborative divorce. As noted by Kiplinger magazine, it may enable spouses to retain ownership of their preferred assets. It may also avoid revealing personal details through a public divorce court record.
Maintaining control over the final outcome
A collaborative divorce involves working out a more amicable agreement outside of a courtroom. When a couple has purchased a house together, for example, the court’s traditional approach may not reflect a mutually agreeable arrangement. The court may view “fairness” as either one spouse “buying out” the other, or it may order a property sale that results in the couple splitting the proceeds.
The collaborative approach, however, allows two individuals to work out a property division plan based on their own needs. Many divorcing couples prefer to leave the decision-making process out of the hands of a family court judge. The negotiations can also move at their own pace.
Considering each family member’s needs
When a couple cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court’s traditional settlement approach typically takes over. In addition to dividing property, a judge may also determine the final outcome of other vital issues. These may include child custody, visitation rights and financial support.
The involvement of children requires making plans for the future, which could take time for a couple to sort out. Negotiating outcomes through the collaborative law approach may allow each spouse more time to carefully consider each family member’s short- and long-term needs.