What is the Collaborative Divorce Process?

Collaborative Divorce is an out of court, settlement based approach to divorce. It is a team approach, in which your divorce is viewed as a problem to be solved, rather than a competition to be won. The focus is on reaching a mutually acceptable, durable agreement in the resolution of your divorce.

The Collaborative Team approach: addressing the Legal, Emotional, and Financial elements of divorce

Attorneys can guide you through the legal divorce-- but all divorces include emotional and financial aspects as well. Collaborative Divorce gathers a team of professionals to address those elements, resolving these potential pitfalls before they get out of control.

On the team, each party has his or her own attorney to be your ally through the process and your advocate each step of the way. Your attorney helps you understand the relevant law, advises you regarding your rights, and makes sure that all the necessary legal requirements are met in any agreement.  How is this different from traditional litigation?  The attorneys' attention is on helping his or her client reach an agreement—not churning up a fight, looking to get an advantage in the courtroom, or handling the paper exchange (discovery, motions, etc) that accompanies litigation.  The attorneys don't have to keep their eyes out for posturing or strategic maneuvering from the other side-- because both attorneys have agreed (along with the parties) to work toward the goal of a mutually acceptable, durable agreement.

Your collaborative divorce team includes two neutral professionals, along with the parties and their attorneys:  A professional divorce facilitator and a financial professional (might be a CPA, or a Financial Planner). While each of the attorneys is aligned with one party, the two neutrals are focused on helping the family reach the goal without bias.

The Facilitator, or Coach, is a mental health professional dedicated to helping you and your spouse recognize the importance of communicating effectively and respectfully while working through the process.  This will lessen the stress and emotional impact of the divorce, and help you and your spouse, ex-spouse or partner focus on making sound, thoughtful decisions with mutual respect and dignity. The Facilitator also helps parents make decisions about what is best for their children moving forward after the divorce, including residential schedule, holidays, and decision-making.

The Financial Neutral is dedicated to assisting your family in navigating the unforeseen and sometimes complex financial issues that arise as a result of divorce. Untangling the family finances, distributing assets and debts while avoiding tax pitfalls are a necessary part of every divorce and can cause a great deal of stress for both parties. A financial neutral can help with budgeting during the divorce process as well as post-divorce; address concerns about property division and spousal or child support; and give tax advice.

Why Choose the Collaborative Process?

Choosing collaborative divorce is choosing privacy, avoiding the public nature of the litigation system. 

Choosing collaborative divorce is choosing to minimize stress and conflict inherent in adversarial litigation.

Collaborative Divorce provides you with a different way to divorce, and gives you a more efficient alternative to financially and emotionally expensive litigation. It is a cost-effective, problem-solving approach that can minimize the impact of conflict on you and your children. With the information and guidance you need from your team, you are empowered to make the sound, long-lasting decisions that will impact you and your family for years. The Collaborative Divorce process preserves your privacy and your dignity while giving you the best possible chance at resolving your disputes respectfully.

Often, a collaborative settlement is reached faster than other forms of negotiation and greatly reduces the emotional trauma families experience in the throes of a divorce, especially the children. It also significantly lowers the expenses incurred by divorcing couples when compared with litigation and trial, protecting families from unnecessary resource depletion at a time when funds are needed to establish two households.

During a divorce, there are a lot of moving parts. Collaborative Divorce allows the pieces to work together toward one goal, rather than fighting against each other, wearing both sides down.

Contact us to discuss your Collaborative Divorce today.