What is Collaborative Divorce?
I work with a lot of individuals and couples going through divorce. They come into the process hurt, scared, and unsure of what the future will hold. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to get through the divorce process with respect, dignity, open communication, and guidance throughout? Well, actually there is! It is called Collaborative Divorce.
Collaborative Practice is a reasonable approach to divorce based on three principles:
A pledge to not go to court
An honest exchange of information by both spouses
A solution that takes into account the highest priorities of both adults AND their children.
In collaborative divorce, each spouse commits to coming to the table and collaboratively working through the parenting plan, possible child and maintenance support, and asset and debt division. It looks at how we can support the goals and future needs of not only both parents but also the children.
In collaborative divorce, you are supported by, and working with a team! Each spouse has an attorney to explain the legal ramifications of the decisions being made. There is also a Divorce Coach to support the couple emotionally and to educate you on ways to co-parent successfully. Finally, there is a Financial Neutral to help provide clarity and education around the financial decisions being made in the divorce process. That is the role I was trained to do. All the professionals on the team have been specially trained in collaborative divorce.
Collaborative Practice At A Glance:
Encourage Mutual Respect
Emphasizes the needs of children
Avoids going to court
Keeps control of the process with the individuals
Provides for open communication
Utilizes a problem-solving approach
Identifies and addresses interests and concerns of all
Prepares individuals for their new lives
Collaborative Divorce is a newer alternative to get through the divorce process, so it’s not surprising if you have not heard of it. I will be part of a collaborative team providing free presentations on the collaborative divorce process. Please stay tuned as we roll these out in Q1 of 2024!
What Makes Collaborative Practice Unique?
Collaborative Practice is a voluntary process in which parties settle disputes without resorting to litigation.
In Collaborative Practice:
1. The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter;
2. The parties voluntarily disclose all information that is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided;
3. The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement;
4. Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
5. The parties may engage financial professionals and professionals who support the emotional, communication, and parenting components of the divorce, whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
6. The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed. In Collaborative Practice, each person, including professionals, commits to:
Negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decide issues.
Maintain open communication and information sharing.
Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.