Divorce can often be complex, emotionally intense and costly. Many couples seek to make the process easier by engaging in collaborative family law. According to Ohio statutes, collaborative family law is a process by which two spouses attempt to reach a dissolution of their marriage without bringing the matter to court. It often involves the two sides, along with their lawyers, sitting down together and having a civil and professional negotiation. A mediator is sometimes used to help the two sides reach agreement.
According to Ohio law, a collaborative process can only begin when each side signs a collaborative participation agreement. The process then continues until the two sides reach agreement. For the agreement to be legally valid, the two spouses must each sign an agreement record. It is possible for the spouses to reach an agreement on some items before taking some other disputed issues to court. In that case, the agreement record would need to state which items are resolved and which are in dispute.
A collaborative process can also be terminated early before a divorce agreement is reached. It can be terminated by any party involved without any explanation needed. The party who wishes to terminate the process can simply give written notice that the process is ended. Similarly, if either party files for the issue to be heard in court, then it is assumed that the collaborative process has ended. Lawyers can even drop out of the collaborative process if they are in dispute with their clients. If this happens, the client can replace the attorney and move forward or both sides can move the divorce to court.
Collaborative family law can often be an effective and efficient way to navigate the divorce process. For couples who can communicate with each other and cooperate, it could be a good solution.
Source: Ohio Laws and rules, “Title  XXXI DOMESTIC RELATIONS – CHILDREN“, November 18, 2014