How Collaborative Divorce Works
Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial process in which you and your spouse each hire a specially-trained collaborative divorce attorney to represent you and negotiate an agreement. Both parties make a pledge that the attorneys will withdraw if an agreement cannot be reached. Once the collaborative divorce starts, the lawyers are legally disqualified from representing you and your spouse in a contested legal proceeding.
Collaborative Divorce protects privacy and confidentiality, and allows for an agreement without court intervention. Although the process is much gentler and well-received by those who embrace it, the divorcing parties must be willing to work honestly, openly, and in good faith to arrive at a fair resolution without court involvement.
How Long Does It Take?
This process encourages creative problem solving, win-win negotiations, and resolutions designed to meet the needs of all members of the family for a long time to come. Therefore, reaching an equitable agreement often requires a team approach, with input from financial advisors and mental health professionals as well as life coaches and child specialists. The goal of the experts is to educate the parties and explore settlement options to meet the long-term needs of both parties and their children.
For this reason, some couples need a lot of time to complete the process, whereas others will reach solutions in a few meetings. Scheduled meetings with a firm agenda help the couple to conclude the process more quickly. Because there are more professionals involved, this process can be more expensive than mediation.
The Collaborative Professional’s Role
The key ingredient of Collaborative Divorce is that the negotiation between the parties takes place in four-way meetings where both parties and their attorneys are present. The lawyers, who have training similar to mediators, work with you as their client and one another to assure a balanced process that’s positive and productive. When there is agreement, a document is drafted by the lawyers, and reviewed and edited by you and your spouse until everyone is satisfied.
Why Choose Collaborative Divorce
- Collaborative Divorce Offers Legal Support: Each party is represented by a lawyer trained in collaborative divorce, whose representation terminates if the agreement cannot be settled and moves to court. It offers you the protection and support of your own lawyer without handing control over to the court.
- Collaborative Divorce Encourages Assistance from Other Trained Professionals: Divorce is not an easy process, and sometimes a couple will benefit from the assistance of divorce coaches, financial planners or child psychologists. Collaborative divorce can bring supportive professionals to the bargaining table to help reach an equitable agreement, taking the needs of everyone in the family into account.
- Collaborative Divorce Maintains Open Communication: Solutions and agreements are reached by sharing information. It prioritizes planning for a peaceful future by minimizing conflict with your spouse. Even though there is compromise on both sides, the final agreement is something you can both live with.
- Collaborative Divorce Honors Your Integrity: The couple signs a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter, and voluntarily discloses all relevant information. Disputes are resolved respectfully based on the ethical behavior of both parties. Although a divorce is never pleasant, you can divorce with dignity.
Going through a legal conflict such as divorce doesn’t automatically mean having to endure the turmoil that is often associated with it.