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What is a collaborative divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Firm News

Divorce can be a grueling experience and an emotionally draining process, fraught with conflict, endless disagreements and courtroom battles.

It can also be a less adversarial process in which two people decide they want to part ways and choose to do so in a way that does not harm each other or their children.

For couples seeking a more amicable solution, a collaborative divorce offers a different path that may be more appropriate for them, as well as being less expensive and time-consuming.

A collaborative divorce is a legal process that allows a couple to end their marriage without going to court. Instead, both parties work together with their attorneys and other professionals, if needed, to find solutions that lead to a settlement between the parties.

This method aims to encourage cooperation over confrontation and offers solutions that benefit the entire family unit. While you may think it sounds like mediation, a collaborative divorce is different from mediation.

The collaborative divorce process

There is a process in place for collaborative divorces, which includes:

  1. Voluntary agreement from both parties
  2. Collaborative attorneys to represent the parties
  3. Engaging professionals like child specialists or tax advisors
  4. Meetings where everyone comes together to negotiate
  5. Complete disclosure of all necessary information by both parties
  6. Good faith on part of both parties
  7. There is no court intervention unless the process breaks down

Collaborative divorce vs. mediation

In mediation, a neutral third-party mediator or team of mediators facilitates a discussion. In a collaborative divorce, each party has their own attorney, and they can bring in additional professionals.

Collaborative attorneys advocate for their client’s best interests, while mediators do not take sides, decide or give legal advice.

In a collaborative divorce, the parties must sign an agreement that states they choose collaborative divorce instead of going through the court system.

If a collaborative divorce fails, the parties go to court and must hire new attorneys to represent them. Unlike in mediation, they cannot use the same attorneys they used for the collaborative divorce attempt.

One of many options

While both mediation and collaborative divorce strive to create an environment where the parties can have an amicable conversation and negotiation, which hopefully leads to a settlement, collaborative divorce has many benefits, especially the fact that it can speed up the process and is much less expensive than litigation.

However, it is not for everyone. In a collaborative divorce, the parties must commit to negotiating in good faith, disclosing all necessary information to each other, and maintaining a positive attitude throughout the process.