Collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial approach to separation.
It allows couples to retain more control over the process and is a less expensive and less stressful means of separating. Lori Barkus is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, an international community of legal, mental health and financial professionals working in concert to create client-centered processes for resolving conflict.
In a traditional divorce, litigants’ often have little or no control over legal bills once the litigation template becomes the engine of their divorce. Litigants are unable to control the time that their lawyers spend waiting in court to be heard, the volume and length of correspondence exchanged between counsel, or the extensive pretrial discovery, required by the court. Collaborative divorce eliminates those costs. As a result, parties generally spend about one-third the amount of fees they would have spent in a traditional litigated divorce.
Because it is a voluntary process, both spouses must agree to engage in discussions and be willing to work things out with the help of a neutral third-party. Each party must sign a participation agreement that governs the process.
During the process, each spouse will retain their own legal counsel and meet with other members of the collaborative team, which may include mental health professionals, financial professionals and mediators. Through meetings with these professionals, you will work to negotiate, in good faith, a settlement.
No motions are filed or argued in court while the collaborative divorce is pending, nor do the parties engage in formal “discovery.” There are no depositions, discovery motions or hearings during this process. Instead, the parties and their lawyers meet in a non-adversarial and confidential setting. The parties are encouraged, but not forced, to settle. If the parties cannot agree to some or all of the issues, their lawyers will withdraw and the parties can retain lawyers to represent them in further proceedings.
The process not only takes a lot of the sting out of divorce – both emotional and financial – but, because the divorce is not being litigated in court, many of the details remain outside of public view.
Is collaborative divorce right for you? Ask yourself whether it would be a goal of yours to:
-Resolve issues in a manner that causes no harm to your children?
-Maintain privacy in your personal affairs by keeping the details of your problems out of public record?
-Obtain a civilized and respectful resolution of the issues?
-Maintain control over decision-making and not hand over decisions about your financial affairs or children to a judge?
-Maximize the possibility of having an effective co-parenting relationship with your spouse?
-Create a settlement that is beneficial to each of you?
-Keep control of the process, control its cost and have control over all the agreements?
-Work in a process that you experienced as safe?
There are a number of factors to consider before deciding if collaborative divorce is right for you. Sustainable Family Solutions can provide you with guidance to determine if this option is right for you. If you are interested in a consultation or have questions do not hesitate to contact Sustainable Family Solutions. Simply click here and send us a message and we will get right back to you.