Guiding You Through The Collaborative Divorce Process

What Is A Collaborative Divorce?

There are times when you need an advocate by your side but you still want to work with your spouse to resolve your divorce. Collaboration may be the answer. Collaborative divorce is a team based approach. You and your spouse each have an attorney, and along with other professionals, you both agree to negotiate in a confidential, out of court process to create solutions tailored to each of your situations that work for both of you. The collaborative approach is designed to preserve both of your interests and needs.

How Does It Work?

  1. Each party would hire his/her own collaborative attorney (a divorce lawyer trained in the collaborative law process) to represent them. Just like in a "traditional" divorce situation, a lawyer's job is to try to get the most favorable outcome for their one client;
  2. Both parties and their respective collaborative family law attorneys sign a contract that states they are committed to using cooperative techniques instead of combative tactics to negotiate the various divorce issues. The contract is called a "participation agreement";
  3. In the collaborative process, a series of meetings take place between both spouses and their divorce lawyers along with other outside professionals as needed (such as financial professionals, child specialists, mental health professionals) to negotiate and try to come to agreement on the subjects.
  4. Together the team develops a comprehensive settlement agreement that resolve parenting and financial issues.

When Should I Use A Collaborative Divorce Process?

  1. You and your spouse share a commitment to settle.
  2. You both have the ability to compromise and want to see the other's point of view.
  3. You cannot use mediation but still want to try to avoid litigation. If your case is problematic and you cannot use mediation due to a dishonest, aggressive, uncooperative or reluctant spouse but you and your spouse still want to try to avoid litigation, the collaborative law process might be worth trying.
  4. You want legal advice and an advocate to represent you and only you. Since your collaborative lawyer will be representing you and only you, he/she can give you advice throughout the proceedings and advocate on your behalf if that is what you want.