Collaborative divorce is a nonadversarial process in which you and your spouse mutually agree on the terms of your divorce. Each of you hires a lawyer to represent you and then collaborate to come up with a settlement and division of property fair to both of you. By working together, you save money on divorce costs because you don't need to enter into litigation to reach a settlement.
How Collaborative Divorce Works
You, your spouse, and the attorneys representing you meet to discuss the issues you must decide in order to reach a fair settlement. Instead of litigating a settlement, each of your attorneys agrees to assist you in resolving conflicts that may arise during the negotiation process. Differences in points of view don't necessarily have to lead to a dispute.
By choosing the collaborative divorce process to work out an agreement, you and your spouse, not a judge, make the decisions relating to your divorce and family. When beginning the process, your attorneys, and sometimes other professionals, help you determine your goals and explore your options. This type of collaboration allows you to come up with your own solutions for reaching an agreement, giving you more control over the outcome.
Once you come to an agreement, your attorneys will draw up the legal paperwork for a family court judge to sign. Since you and your spouse exchange information voluntarily, the procedure goes uncontested and you save money.
The Participation Agreement
As part of the collaborative divorce process, you, your spouse, and your attorneys agree to enter into a Participation Agreement. What that means is if you don't reach an agreement, both lawyers will withdraw and not be involved in any litigation that may follow. If the case goes to court, you and your spouse must each hire a new lawyer.
Generally, provisions of the Participation Agreement state that you and your spouse will:
Rely on your respective attorneys from places like Law Offices of Gordon Liebmann to help you reach a divorce settlement.
Do what's best for your children, which includes continuing to encourage their relationship with the other parent.
Negotiate any unresolved issues in a nonadversarial manner.
Communicate candidly with each other about finances and parenting issues, avoiding emotional discussions of events that happened in the past.
Agree not to make changes relating to assets, insurance coverage, or other financial matters without mutual consent.
What Collaborative Divorce Requires
Collaborative divorce only works when the parties involved are considerate, respectful, and fair to each other. While the process allows each of you to voice your opinions, you have to be reasonable and able to control your emotions.
To succeed, the collaborative divorce process requires a commitment from both you and your spouse to work with and not against each other. Better communication between you leads to less conflict and greater willingness to negotiate. As a result, your attorneys won't have to bill you for time spent in court or acting as your go-between throughout the divorce process.