Many men and women going through a divorce want it to be amicable and transparent. The collaborative divorce is actually a process where the parties agree from the beginning to work as part of a team, which includes attorneys as well as other professionals, to resolve custody, support, and property distribution. The collaborative practice is client-centered and client-controlled.
Based on the particular needs of the parties, the team may include a neutral financial planner, a children’s therapist, and a divorce coach, who is a mental health professional. The collaborative divorce process focuses on open communication and information sharing rather than litigation strategy. Information is freely disclosed and the parties commit to full disclosure at the commencement of the process.
Prior to commencing the team work, the parties enter into a collaborative agreement stating that they will negotiate an acceptable settlement without going to court. The hope is that the parties may more effectively resolve the issues if they do not have the fear of litigation hanging over their heads. If the parties later determine they cannot reach an agreement through the collaborative process, their collaborative attorneys will not represent them in court, which may provide incentive to stick with the collaborative process, even if frustration arises.
A collaborative divorce includes many benefits, including the potential for improved communication and trust between the parties, and placing the parties and family in the priority position rather than focusing on legal strategic positioning. It is a newer method for resolving difficult and challenging family law issues, but it is a positive step toward keeping families out of the courtroom.