Conciliation is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism in which the parties involved attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with the help of a neutral third party called a conciliator. Its objective is to avoid a long and costly judicial process, encouraging the peaceful and consensual resolution of disputes.
In Colombia, there are issues that can be reconciled and others that cannot. Specifically, in family matters, it is not possible to conciliate in respect of the parental rights, adoption, divorce, cessation of civil effects and nullity of marriage. While it is allowed with respect to the fixing of the alimony quota, the custody of the children and the regulation of visits, the liquidation of the conjugal partnership and the dissolution and liquidation of the de facto patrimonial partnership. In this sense, it is clear that divorce cannot be processed through conciliation. However, the most similar mechanism is the divorce before a notary by mutual agreement, which takes place once the couple has reached agreements regarding the division of assets, child custody and alimony and the petition for divorce is filed before the notary. The notary, in this case, acts as an impartial facilitator and is responsible for verifying that the agreements are fair and equitable before proceeding with the formalization of the divorce.
This type of divorce is faster and less expensive, since it does not require the intervention of a judge nor does it involve an extensive legal process that requires the hiring of an attorney for the duration of the process. It is important to clarify that a lawyer is also required for this type of divorce, but since it is a short and simple procedure, the fees are less compared to those of a judicial process.
In order to initiate the process of divorce by mutual agreement before a notary, it is necessary that both spouses agree to end the marriage and have reached clear agreements regarding the aspects mentioned above. The assistance of a lawyer will be required, who will be in charge of drafting the divorce agreement and submitting it to the notary along with the other required documents. Once the notary reviews and approves the agreements, the public deed of divorce will be signed, which will have legal effects and will put an end to the marriage.
Finally, although divorce cannot be processed through conciliation in Colombia, there is divorce by mutual agreement before a notary, which offers a faster, cheaper and more private option for couples who have reached agreements regarding the division of assets, custody of children and other relevant aspects. Legal advice is essential to ensure that agreements are fair and in compliance with applicable law.