Isn’t the Green Divorce really a green separation?

The Green Divorce is most effectively applied to the separation process.  However, it can include an uncontested divorce after the parties have been separated for at least one year per North Carolina law.  The goal is to have all issues settled before filing the actual divorce.

How does a Green Divorce work?

The Green Divorce has a set of distinguishing traits that make it a success:

  1. Mediation—Parties focus on settlement instead of litigation, so the process is client-based instead of lawyer-based.
  2. Collaboration—The Green Divorce includes sessions with a therapist, a tax professional, a financial planner or a combination of the three.  This feature offers clients the opportunity to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed by a variety of experts, so that each party can make the most informed decisions possible.
  3. Joint settlement conferences—The parties and their mediator meet in several conferences designed to maximize the problem-solving abilities of each participant and reduce unnecessary conflict and stress.
  4. Full disclosure—Both parties put their cards on the table from the beginning so issues can be dealt with directly and honestly.  Each party brings all documents and information available to every meeting.  All information is shared.
  5. Needs-based negotiation—Participants agree to use various communication techniques to better understand one another’s needs.  The focus is on problem-solving instead of winning or beating the other party.
  6. Future-focus—The mediator and other professionals involved in the process help the parties move past what caused the dissolution of the relationship and focus instead on what is best for the family as a whole in the future.
  7. Jointly-retained experts—The parties hire and consult the same experts, such as psychologists, appraisers, business valuators, and accountants, thus reducing costs and duplicate information.
  8. Success—Success is measured in the short-term satisfaction of resolving all outstanding issues efficiently, and in the long-term happiness of both parties and their children as they move through the transition and into a new phase of their lives in a positive way.

Contact us at 919-783-9669 today to discover how we can help you achieve an uncontested divorce.

What happens if the Green Divorce process doesn’t work?

If negotiations break down, the parties still have traditional litigation, mediation and arbitration methods available.  Plus, a majority of the information gathering needed to start litigation is complete, typically saving thousands of dollars and months of time.  However, statistics show that the settlement rate and overall satisfaction of parties who use collaborative methods like those in the Green Divorce is much higher than those who resolve their problems in court.

Does the mediator represent me or my spouse/partner?

The mediator, although a licensed attorney, does not represent you or your spouse/partner.  The mediator’s role is to guide you to settlement, not to dispense legal advice.  In fact, the mediator is ethically barred from offering either you or your spouse/partner legal advice, and you have the opportunity to consult with an attorney at any time during the process.  It is important to understand, however, that although the mediator is licensed to practice law, he/she does not operate in that capacity during the Green Divorce.  Rather, the mediator serves as a neutral third party who is trained to broach compromise and settlement, rather than animosity and litigation.

How do I protect “my rights” in the Green Divorce?

After the mediation sessions have been completed, you will receive a summary document from the mediator that contains the terms of your agreement. You may then take that document to an independent attorney who can review it with you and memorialize it in a separation agreement that you and your spouse can sign.