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Family Lawyers Las Cruces NM | Blog

Collaborative Divorce Attorney in NM

Posted by Sarah Van Cott Hughes | Feb 09, 2024

Divorce in NM is a sensitive and challenging time for families. At Advanced Legal Resolutions, we are committed to helping our clients get through their divorce with as much compassion and ease as possible given the circumstances. 

As part of this commitment, our divorce lawyer in Las Cruces embraces alternative dispute resolution methods, with a particular emphasis on collaborative divorce. Contact us today at 575-647-8802 to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how a collaborative divorce might benefit you and your family.

Collaborative Divorce in NM

Collaborative divorce is a progressive and client-centered approach to resolving family law matters during a divorce. It involves both parties and their respective attorneys working together in a cooperative, non-adversarial manner to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. This method aims to minimize the emotional and financial toll often associated with traditional litigation while fostering an environment of open communication and compromise.

In a collaborative divorce, each party agrees that they will not threaten litigation or use the courts during the process. If either party engages in any of the latter, the collaborative meetings will discontinue. In addition, the attorneys for each party will no longer be able to represent them. 

Common Features of Collaborative Divorces

Even though collaborative divorce processes vary somewhat from one jurisdiction to another, some common characteristics exist, including:

  • Voluntary Participation, meaning both parties willingly choose the collaborative process and agree to work together toward a resolution

  • Open communication, meaning parties commit to sharing information openly and honestly to foster an environment of trust

  • Negotiation and problem-solving, meaning both parties work together to find mutually acceptable solutions, with the assistance of their attorneys and possibly other collaborative professionals

  • Multidisciplinary approach, meaning in addition to attorneys, collaborative divorce may involve other professionals, such as financial experts, mental health professionals, and child specialists, who contribute specialized knowledge and assist in addressing various aspects of the divorce, such as financial planning and child custody

  • Client-centered process, meaning attorneys act as advocates for their clients within the collaborative framework, ensuring that their interests are represented

  • Future-focused negotiation, meaning collaborative divorce encourages parties to focus on planning for the future rather than dwelling on past grievances

  • Confidentiality, meaning information shared during the collaborative process is not admissible in court if the process breaks down and litigation becomes necessary

  • Customized solutions, meaning collaborative divorce allows for more creative and customized solutions that may better meet the unique needs and circumstances of the parties involved

  • Emphasis on emotional well-being, meaning collaborative professionals often address the emotional aspects of the process to help parties navigate the changes with empathy and support

  • Individual representation, meaning each party must separately retain an attorney – they cannot share a lawyer because the shared lawyer cannot concentrate exclusively on one party's best interests

Understanding these fundamental characteristics can help individuals make an informed decision about whether it is the right approach for their unique situation. Contact our collaborative divorce attorney in NM to discuss your circumstances and get smart guidance on whether collaboration is a viable path for your divorce. 

Collaborative Divorce Process

The collaborative divorce process in NM is entirely different from litigation for a divorce. To start the process, each party to the divorce should agree that they are able and willing to enter into negotiations with an open mind and a common goal of reaching an agreement. 

Upon this agreement, the next step is finding a separate attorney to represent each respective party's interests. These divorce lawyers must be familiar with the collaborative process and believe in its efficacy. 

Next, goals must be established. Each party should decide, with their attorney, what they are willing to agree to and how they would like to settle certain matters, like Alimony Term, child support, child custody, visitation, asset division, debt division, and retirement account division. Keep in mind that not all matters must be settled via collaborative divorce in order for it to be successful. Unsettled matters can still be negotiated or litigated later.

Once goals are established, your attorney will reach out to experts and professionals who can help you and the other party reach a mutually desirable agreement. For example, a child therapist and a financial planner can help both sides see the big picture and learn more about the consequences of their decisions. 

The collaborative process is basically a series of meetings with the parties and their attorneys, along with the occasional expert. Progress must be made at each meeting so that the parties and their counsel do not become frustrated and begin to lose faith in the negotiations. 

After successful negotiation of all matters, the attorneys will prepare a written agreement to be signed by all. Then, a judge will review it. If the judge finds the terms agreeable, they will sign the agreement thereby making it an order of the court.    

When Collaborative Divorce in NM Works Best

Collaborative divorce is not best in certain situations, like those involving domestic violence, extreme power imbalances, or situations where one party is unwilling to participate in good faith. It can, however, be a very useful tool in situations where: 

  • Parties are committed to an amicable resolution

  • Parties want to preserve relationships (e.g., for the sake of children or standing within their communities)

  • Complex financial situations are present (e.g., financial specialists and other experts can be retained and expenses can be shared)

To determine whether a collaborative divorce can work for you, contact our divorce lawyer at 575-647-8802 today.

Pros and Cons of Collaborative Divorce in NM

Collaborative divorce can benefit both parties in many ways aside from helping them avoid litigation. Collaborative divorce is:

  • Empowering as it allows the parties to actively participate in shaping their own future, rather than relying on a judge's decision

  • Confidential, which allows the parties to retain their privacy while court proceedings belong to the public domain 

  • Cost-effective as it often requires fewer court appearances and legal proceedings and the fees of any third party are typically shared by both parties

  • Efficient as it allows for a stream-lined process according to your calendar and not that of a busy court calendar

  • Expedient because the parties tend to be more cooperative and can more quickly resolve their issues

Disadvantages to collaborative divorce include additional costs in the off-chance that the parties are unable to reach an agreement. Also, collaborative divorce only works if both parties are honest and want the negotiations to be successful. Without commitment from both sides, the process really doesn't have much chance of success. 

Five Tips for a Collaborative Divorce in NM

At Advanced Legal Resolutions, we are committed to our clients. We work to ensure your interests and rights are upheld during a divorce, and we do so in a way that is most beneficial to you. For many, a collaborative divorce offers this promise. To ensure success, here are five tips you should consider before deciding on a collaborative divorce.

  1. Communicate openly and honestly with all parties. 

  2. Choose professionals who have specific training or experience in collaborative divorce – this is true for your attorney as well as specialists or experts.

  3. Focus on your interests and needs rather than taking a rigid position on a specific matter.

  4. Have a willingness to compromise in a way that will benefit both parties and any children involved.

  5. Create a timeline for the divorce so that you keep the process moving forward without getting bogged down on one specific matter.

As a final tip, keep in mind that collaborative divorce is not mediation. Though there is a lot of negotiation happening in both, mediation requires a third, neutral party to act as the mediator.  The means to your divorce depend on the circumstances, so it is always best to speak to our family law attorney to discuss your situation, your concerns, your interests, and your needs to determine the best course of action.

Contact a Collaborative Divorce Lawyer in Las Cruces Today

At Advanced Legal Resolutions, our experienced family law attorney in NM is dedicated to guiding clients through the collaborative divorce process with compassion and expertise. Contact us today by using the online form or calling us at 575-647-8802 to discuss how collaborative divorce may be the right choice for you and your family. We will set a consultation for a time that best suits you.

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About the Author

Sarah Van Cott Hughes

Bio Sarah Van Cott began practicing law in Alamogordo, NM, at a small civil practice where she managed cases including wills and trusts, personal injury, landlord tenant and contract law. In 2013, she began working as an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting criminal cases for the State of Ne...

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