What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce offers a supportive environment to address the legal, financial, emotional and practical realities of ending your marriage.  Using a Team approach to conflict resolution, spouses commit to an out of Court method to resolve all marital issues.

Why is it different than Mediation?

In mediation, the mediator is an impartial third party that assists in the settlement of a matter.  However, a mediator cannot offer legal advice or advocate for the position of either spouse in the negotiations.  Attorneys are seldom present in mediation sessions.  If a spouse has counsel, the spouse typically is consulting with legal counsel between sessions.  Collaborative allows each spouse to have their respective collaboratively trained counsel present at each and every session to assist in the legal issues that common up in “real time” during the negotiations.

How Does it Work?

After the spouses retain their respective attorneys, a Family Professional is jointly retained to work with the couple before the first full Team session in determining their joint Values and Goals for the process.  At the first Team session, a Participation Agreement is signed.  By that Agreement, the spouses commit to full and transparent financial disclosure and to use good faith efforts to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.  Further sessions are then held to determine questions to be answered and frame issues; gather information; generate options for settlement; evaluate options for settlement; and reach a resolution.  Once a resolution is reached legal counsel prepares the written Settlement Agreement and/or additional papers (as may be agreed upon by the couple) to finalize the Divorce through Court.  There are no actual Court appearances required to finalize the Divorce as the couple works through their respective counsel to submit the required papers to finalize a Divorce.

Who is Part of Your Team?

A Collaborative team is a combination of professionals that you and your spouse use to resolve your matter.  At a minimum it consists of you, your spouse, your respective Collaboratively trained attorneys and a Family Professional.  You can also choose to include a neutral Financial Professional, a Child Specialist or Affiliated Collaborative Professionals (such as appraisers, real estate agents, vocational experts, etc.).

Possible Advantages of a Collaborative Divorce v. Litigated Divorce

  • Better Outcome for the Family
  • Faster Healing
  • Control over timing and outcomes
  • Knowledge to make informed choices
  • An alternative to a court system
  • Kinder and gentler approach to divorce
  • Better Control over costs of your matter

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