1. What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Law is a new way to divorce. It is a way to resolve disputes respectfully with the support, protection and guidance of your lawyer without going to court. The Collaborative Divorce process allows you the benefit of child and financial specialists and divorce coaches all working together to assist you in resolving your issues. Collaborative divorce is a process that puts children first and gives control of the process to the spouses. By working together in four-way meetings, the divorcing couple, with the help of their attorneys, are able to reach a fair and equitable settlement that meets the interests of both spouses and the children.
2. How is Collaborative Divorce different from Litigation?
In a conventional divorce, the spouses communicate through their attorneys and a final decision is determined by the judge. This lack of communication between the spouses quite often leads them to view each other as adversaries and the divorce as a battleground. Unfortunately, the ensuing conflicts can take an immense toll on the emotions of all the participants, especially the children. A Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial approach to divorce. The spouses and lawyers sign an agreement, before the collaborative begins, not to go to court. The parties negotiate in good faith and work together to achieve a mutually-agreed upon settlement outside of court. The cooperative nature of the Collaborative Divorce process can greatly ease the emotional strain caused by the ending of a relationship, and protect the well-being of children.
3. Is the Collaborative Divorce process right for me?
In order to determine whether the Collaborative Divorce method is best for you, ask yourself the following:
A truly successful divorce is one that puts you in the best position to meet those goals you have set for yourself (and children). These goals might be quite different from your immediate concerns that you are preoccupied with during the divorce process. Focusing on the immediate need to “win” can cause you to lose focus on the things that may be more important for the future.
4. How do I get my spouse to agree to Collaborative Divorce?
The process of Collaborative Law is a voluntary one. Most often, one party will be interested in using Collaborative Law and will talk to the other party about it. One spouse may invite the other spouse to meet together with a Collaborative attorney to learn about the Collaborative Divorce process. Also, more information is available at the international and state professional web sites.
5. What is the difference between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation?
Mediation involves the use of a neutral third party (mediator), and the parties may have attorneys who act as adversaries. In Collaborative cases, lawyers and their clients will negotiate a settlement with or without the use of a mediator
6. How does the practice of Collaborative Divorce affect attorney’s fees?
Representation and fee agreements between attorney and client are not directly affected by the participation agreement. However, avoiding the cost of litigation, trial preparation and court time will greatly reduce the overall cost of a case.
7. How can I learn more about Collaborative Divorce?
Go to www.collaborativepractice.com and www.collablawil.org web sites. You can find articles relating to the Collaborative process. Also, make an appointment to see a Collaborative attorney and ask questions about the Collaborative process.
8. Will my rights be protected if I choose the Collaborative Divorce approach?
The Collaborative attorney does not give up the role of advocate for the spouse. Each spouses’ attorney upholds his/her duty to represent their client’s interests. The spouses have agreed to limit the attorney’s role so that they may retain control the process.
9. Can a party quit during the Collaborative divorce process?
Yes. A party may quit the Collaborative Divorce process, however per the participation agreement, the party must then hire other counsel. The other side will also be hiring new counsel (litigator). Control of your divorce may be lost for you and put in the hands of the attorneys.