What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to the traditional process of obtaining a divorce. It is based on three principles:
You and your spouse keep control of the decisions yourselves, rather than giving it up to a judge.
In Collaborative Divorce, each of you has an attorney who supports and advises you individually. It is recommended that you hire an attorney who has special training in collaborative processes. Then you, your spouse and both of your attorneys meet together in a series of 4-way meetings to:
· Gather, discuss and understand all relevant financial information
· Discuss and understand the needs and interests of each of you and your children
· Negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.
Throughout, the emphasis is on open communication, respect and reciprocity. If either party chooses to go to court despite the agreement not to, then both attorneys must withdraw, and each party must hire a new litigation attorney.
You may choose to do Collaborative Divorce with just your spouse and each of your attorneys. You also have the option of a team approach to help you manage the many aspects of divorce: the legal issues, the emotional turmoil, the concerns for children and the financial and property questions. For example, the team may include one or more of the following professionals:
· A divorce coach is a therapist who can help you manage the pain and strain of changing relationships, while focusing on your goals for the present and the future. By working with your strengths, the divorce coach assists you in being at your best during the divorce process, then taking positive steps to a new life.
· A financial consultant can help protect your financial interests and provide guidance in developing viable financial options so that you can make the best choices for your future financial well-being.
· A child specialist may meet with your children privately and assist them in expressing their feelings and concerns about the divorce, and then communicate this information to the team to consider when planning for the children's lives.
With your consent, the members of your professional team consult and share information with each other in order to help you work most effectively in the process and to reach optimal and mutually beneficial agreements for your future.