Collaborative Divorce is a process in which parties agree to settle without resorting to litigation. There are several aspects of collaborative divorce that make it unique from the traditional process that most people are familiar with. The biggest advantage is it can be a much healthier, cost effective, and efficient way to resolve your case. So how does it work?
First, collaborative divorce involves hiring a team of people. Each party has their own collaboratively trained attorney, then your team would also include a financial neutral and a mental health professional. These professionals all have been specifically trained in collaborative divorce processes and agree to the ideology that we are all working with one goal in mind: helping you reach a fair settlement in as healthy of a way as possible.
To do this, the parties sign a collaborative participation agreement that explains the process and includes the rules of engagement. This includes voluntarily disclosing all relevant information for the case including, but not limited to, financial statements, household expenses, children’s schedules, and parenting plan ideas.
Parties will meet with the financial neutral and the mental health professional to discuss their situation, concerns, and goals for the process. These professionals will help the parties to gather data for their case, educate both parties on specific aspects of the case such as understanding what assets they have and how they work, and will be available in all sessions to help the parties come to a fair and reasonable agreement.
It is also important to note that should either party decide to leave the collaborative process and pursue litigation for any aspect of the case, all professionals will be terminated, and the parties must start over with new representation. Further, none of the professionals involved in the case can work with the client outside of the collaborative process. For example, if we were acting as a financial neutral on your case, we would not be able to work with either party post-divorce for financial planning. This keeps everyone’s interests pure by eliminating any conflict of interest that could arise.
Negotiation meetings involve all professionals and both parties. Everyone works together for the good of the parties to find the most mutually beneficial settlement possible that acknowledges each party’s priorities and goals. By working in a very transparent environment, it also helps to reduce costs that would otherwise be associated with a lengthy litigated case like subpoenas, depositions, court preparation, etc.
If you are interested in the collaborative divorce process, give us a call and we would be happy to discuss it with you. We can also refer you to other professionals in the area who are collaboratively trained.
For more information on Collaborative Divorce, check out the following resources:
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals: www.collaborativepractice.com
Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals: www.collaborativelaw.com