What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Practice is an interdisciplinary divorce process involving two attorneys, one or two divorce coaches, and sometimes a financial specialist and/or a child specialist. These professionals work as consultants to the divorce and bring their own skill set to the table when needed. In this process, spouses sign a written agreement not to go to court until the matter is fully negotiated and agreed upon, and to resolve all aspects of their divorce agreement without involving the court.
The collaborative divorce professional team guides the process for the spouses, affording them various legal, financial, parenting/co-parenting and communication expertise. The focus for the professionals is to inform, not to advise, although expertise in each field is shared often. In this model, a couple has access to a wide range of professional insights to guide them in making informed decisions as to what’s best for themselves and their family.
In a collaborated divorce, the spouses typically meet with various members of their professional team to negotiate their settlement terms and parenting agreement. It is in these team meetings that nearly all the work on the divorce is done. There are no filings in court, no motions or appearances or depositions. The entire process is based on transparency, and is best suited for couples who are resolved to divorce, and who feel confident in their ability and their spouses ability to bring forth a good faith promise to disclose information honestly.
Although each professional on a collaborative team is paid separately, the cost of a collaborative divorce tends to be less than traditional divorce. There are no filings, no court appearances or hearings. All of the negotiations are done together in team meetings and are driven by an agenda set by the clients.
Because the collaborative divorce process is based on transparency, and each party must come to the table willing to provide requested information and/or documentation. Also, the contents of a collaborated divorce can be held almost completely confidential, as the specifics of the agreement can be entered as “exhibits” which are kept out of the public file. While the case will be on record as a divorce, most of the private and personal information will be kept off the public record, achieving the highest level of privacy for families.