Collaborative divorce provides a way for couples to get a divorce with the assistance of counsel and other professionals, but without having to go to court. In the collaborative process, divorcing couples work as a team with trained professionals to resolve their issues without going to court.
Collaborative Divorce is not simply sitting down with a couple of attorneys and trying to negotiate a deal. During the collaborative process, each party has the support, protection and guidance of his or her own lawyer, but the lawyers, clients and other trained professionals work as a team. Other trained professionals may also be involved in the process if the couple wants them to join the team. Other professionals available to the couple include specially trained financial specialists, divorce coaches and child specialists. In the collaborative process, the lawyers, clients, and other professionals who join the team work to help the couple focus on their most important goals, and all agree to do so without engaging in the litigation process.
The biggest differences between Collaborative Divorce and a Litigated Divorce are:
In the collaborative process, both spouses and their attorneys agree that they will not go to court to resolve their differences. This ensures that the couple, and not a judge, will ultimately decide the outcome of their divorce.
Instead of going to court to "fight it out", the couple works with their lawyers and other professionals as a team, rather than against one another, to find a mutually beneficial resolution to the issues in their divorce.
The biggest barrier to a resolution of issues in a litigated divorce is a lack of effective communication. The collaborative process is structured to provide the couple with a framework through which they can effectively communicate their goals and concerns.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The process begins with each spouse choosing his or her own lawyer who is trained in the collaborative process. After meeting individually with their attorneys, the couple and their attorneys meet together to affirm their commitment to the collaborative process, which includes agreeing in writing to adhere to the principles of collaborative practice. This requires a commitment that the parties will not resort to litigation to resolve their differences, and if they do their collaborative lawyers cannot represent them. All members of the team also review the ground rules for future meetings. Regular meetings are then held during which the team works to help the couple resolve their differences. Of course, the parties are free to meet with their attorneys individually at any time
to discuss their concerns and receive individual support during the process.
WHAT DO THE OTHER PROFESSIONALS DO?
The divorce coach is a mental health professional that provides additional individual support and guidance to each spouse during the divorce process. A divorce coach can help each spouse deal with the stress and emotional strain inherent in the divorce process, while at the same time help each spouse focus on his or her goals throughout the process. A divorce coach can help each spouse develop positive goals for a new future and identify individual strengths that can help that person reach those goals.
Because the divorce settlement will impact the future financial health of each spouse and the children, it is important to make sure the structure of that settlement will maximize each spouse's financial well-being and the financial well-being of the children. A financial specialist can help the couple identify the issues that will impact the financial health of everyone involved. The financial specialist can also help the couple analyze their options so they can effectively determine the options that maximize the benefits to all family members.
The child specialist is an individual (usually a mental health professional) that is trained identifying the needs of the children and conveying those needs to the team. The child specialist's job is to meet with the children and help them express their feelings and concerns about the divorce. The child specialist then conveys those feelings and concerns to the team so they can be considered when planning those parts of the agreement that have an impact on the children's lives.
If you are interested in obtaining more information about how the Collaborative Divorce process can provide you with the support, protection and guidance you need in a collaborative atmosphere that is structured to remove the threat of litigation, contact me at (631) 979-3480 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.