What Is The Role Of The Judge In Collaborative Divorce?

Role of the Judge in Collaborative Divorce

When many people think about the divorce process, they picture a litigated divorce that goes to trial. This is a simple enough scenario to envision, involving two warring sides who are fighting over their finances, property, and children. Once they make their case, a judge then decides in favor of one of the parties or resolves the case in a way that leaves neither party feeling like a victor.

This begs the question: what is the role of a judge in a divorce where the parties are collaborating to reach consensus on the major issues? Does the judge matter? Will you even see the judge?

Once a settlement is reached in a collaborative divorce, the next step is drafting a comprehensive written settlement agreement, which must be signed by both parties as well as their collaborative divorce lawyers. During the negotiation process, the judge is not involved at all. Instead, the parties are working with the collaborative team in settlement meetings.

Then the judge comes into play. The judge will review the settlement paperwork and make sure the agreement is "unconscionable" (the legal term for incredibly one-sided). If there are no issues with the paperwork, the parties in the divorce may not actually see the judge at all. Often, the judge will sign the settlement paperwork and divorce decree with affidavits. In other cases, the judge may hold an uncontested hearing where the parties have to appear once.

Missouri, Illinois and Kansas Collaborative Divorce Lawyers

If you are interested in starting the collaborative divorce process, contact us online or call any one of our convenient locations throughout the region.