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Alabama legislation leads to new divorce strategies

In a recent article, a financial adviser agreed with one of his clients who said that the best way to accrue savings for retirement is to remain married to one spouse and stay in one house. Regardless, statistics prove that some marriages end in divorce. Most couples who divorce have a desire to do so amicably, hopefully reaching a peaceable compromise when it comes to issues such as division of property or child custody and visitation. Recent Alabama legislation led to a new type of collaborative agreement aimed at reducing courtroom disputes and increasing peaceful resolutions to issues faced during proceedings.

The Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) was passed in Alabama in Jan. 2014. Several prioritized components are included in the process, meant to help couples as they negotiate issues that are often emotionally charged or complicated. Part of the agreement contracted by participating couples and their legal representatives is that the negotiation process involved in the alternative collaborative strategy must lead to an uncontested divorce in order for the parties to maintain their contracted relationship and proceed to courtroom sessions.

Participating parties in UCLA must agree to proceed in good faith negotiations, freely disclosing all pertinent information without depositions. Participants each must also retain individual legal representation. There legal professionals with experience in the alternative collaborative process. Financial advisers and other skilled professionals, such as mental health professionals, are also often asked to participate in the process of collaborative agreement.

In addition to participating in UCLA, many spouses, including some in Alabama, use prenuptial and/or post-nuptial agreements in order to protect assets and prevent a contested divorce at a later date. Those in need of legal advice regarding property division issues or other aspects of divorce proceedings may contact a legal professional in their area for guidance. Doing so might prove beneficial for those wishing to act in the best interests of each family member involved.

Source: al.com, "The art of divorce", Stewart Welch, March 18, 2015

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