Definition of Collaborative Divorce in North Carolina

There is no question that divorce can be expensive; that is, when it goes through the courts. However, there are out-of-court options available in North Carolina that could be of benefit to some couples who are able to work on their divorce issues with assistance from their lawyers. This is now known as collaborative divorce, and it is a relative newcomer in the divorce scene as it was first practiced in the 1990s by a Minneapolis-based divorce lawyer. It has been in the North Carolina statutes for over 10 years (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-70 et seq.).

Collaborative divorce is mainly an agreement between spouses in a divorce to negotiate the terms of their divorce without involving the court. Each spouse would have a divorce lawyer to serve as representatives as well as to ensure that the settlement is within the allowed bounds of the law. The settlement lawyers are expected to facilitate conflict resolution and generally undergo some training in helping couples reach better agreements. It is considered a viable alternative to the more adversarial setting of divorce court to settle disputes.

Because collaborative divorce is done outside of court, it is more flexible, faster, and less expensive. However, it is not suitable for all couples because it requires them to be willing to discuss issues related to divorce and reach a mutually acceptable compromise. Couples who are constantly at each other’s throats and bitterly contest each and every provision will need the sterner guidance of divorce court.

Collaborative divorce, despite its obvious advantages, continue to be underutilized in North Carolina, perhaps because only a few law firms include it in their practice rosters. If you want to settle your divorce as quickly and inexpensively as legally possible, consult with your lawyer about the feasibility of a collaborative divorce. To learn more about collaborative divorce, visit


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