What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a method for dissolving a marriage where participants work with a team of professionals to craft their own agreements. Clients work together in a respectful way, keeping in mind the importance of protecting their children and others who may be involved out of conflict. Decisions are made by the participants without the involvement of a judge or other third-party decision maker.
Collaborative Divorce is a private and confidential process. Just as in a traditional divorce, each of you will have confidential conversations with your attorney and a strategy for accomplishing your goals, but in the Collaborative Divorce process those goals are reached without destroying your relationship with your spouse or exhausting your financial resources on a court battle. Collaborative Divorce professionals manage this confidential process — in an office, rather than in a courtroom setting — that provides the resources, structure and emotionally safe space needed for a divorcing couple to consider their unique situation and arrive at a mutually-agreeable settlement–outside of the public eye.
It’s Client, Child and Family Centered
The Collaborative Divorce process is a settlement process that focuses on helping couples find their way to respectful resolutions for their families, creating an emotionally safe environment for the parties to express their interests and goals, and to negotiate and resolve disputes without going to court.
The Collaborative Divorce process recognizes that even though a marriage may be ending, relationships and obligations often continue, especially when children are involved. It allows spouses to formulate agreements that focus on their most important individual and mutual goals. This process helps all family members, even extended family, move forward in a positive way – focused on the future, rather than dwelling on arguments and disputes of the past.
The Collaborative Divorce process results in solutions that enable each person impacted by a divorce – especially children – to have the best post-divorce lives possible. Parents divorcing collaboratively are better able to protect their children from the damaging effects of a highly contentious divorce and preserve more of their mutual respect for each other as parents.
It’s Creative and Customized
A Collaborative Divorce provides divorcing couples an innovative alternative to a traditional courtroom divorce. In Collaborative Divorce, control isn’t handed over to a judge unfamiliar with a couple’s or a family’s unique circumstances, and who has a very limited time to hear their case. Instead, the divorcing couple works with specially trained Collaborative Divorce professionals — and without court involvement — to arrive at a creative and customized solution that delivers the most positive outcome possible.
It’s Out of Court
Most couples agree that they would prefer to work through the issues of their divorce outside a courtroom. In the Collaborative Divorce process, clients actually sign a contract promising each other to settle all the issues of their case outside of court. They even promise each other that neither will threaten to go to court. When that threat is removed, clients are able to more comfortably and satisfactorily negotiate the issues in their cases.
Collaborative Divorce operates on a family’s schedule. Couples have the flexibility to schedule meetings with their Collaborative team when all participants are best able to meet, unlike the litigation process in which clients may be subpoenaed for depositions and required to attend court hearings without consideration for their schedules.
Collaborative Divorce can be a more cost-effective and efficient process than traditional divorce. It is structured so that divorcing couples work with specially trained professionals to resolve financial, parenting, and other pertinent issues. Not all team members are required to attend all meetings. Couples can realize cost savings by working with a single Financial Neutral, rather than two lawyers. Likewise, couples can realize significant cost savings working with a single Collaborative Divorce Facilitator on the parenting plan that will meet children’s best interests.
What are the Benefits of Collaborative Law?
Each party’s Collaboratively trained attorney, the Collaborative Divorce Facilitator and the Financial Neutral comprise the professional team for a Collaborative Divorce. The team works together to help the parties. It may sound expensive, but when you consider the cost of litigation, the experts that may be hired, and the work required for making a presentation of each party’s side of the case to a judge, it is frequently less expensive than having your day, or days, in court. Importantly, the cost savings go well beyond the checkbook. Let’s take a look at the benefits of a Collaborative Divorce as opposed to a traditionally litigated divorce.
You are not in court, so the dispute, the process, and the resolution remain private.
The parties address problems and issues in a forward-focused manner, rather than hanging on to past harms, hurts and blame.
Both parties’ interests and concerns are explored to identify areas of mutual agreement.
Parties can make fully informed decisions without the pressure of court-imposed deadlines.
The process can lead to creative resolutions that work for the entire family, outcomes that are often not available from a judge.
Relationships can be preserved, if not healed, in a Collaborative process; in an adversarial court-based process they are often damaged even further.
Financial Neutrals can streamline financial information gathering and disclosure.