It takes an exceptional collective effort to maintain a civil approach and achieve well-informed solutions amid the adversarial nature of a divorce.
As the name suggests, a collaborative divorce gathers a group of professionals to work with you and your spouse to resolve your issues in good-faith negotiations instead of in litigious court proceedings. The goal of your collaborative team coming from varying disciplines is to integrate their areas of expertise for a mutually beneficial divorce settlement.
Although your team members may vary depending on your circumstances, these are the individuals who can help you navigate a collaborative framework:
- Attorneys: You and your spouse must each retain legal representation. They can discuss the nature and scope of your collaborative family law participation agreement before you and your spouse proceed with signing. The agreement contains your intent toward resolution and certain provisions about forgoing court intervention. Further, it also states both attorneys’ mandatory, nonwaivable withdrawal if either party terminates the collaborative process and moves it to litigation.
- Financial consultant: This financial neutral tackles all money matters – income, debt, assets and other expenses. They devise budget plans for your urgent and long-term economic needs.
- Child specialist: This mental health neutral focuses on child-centered issues, functioning as your child’s voice. They manage your child’s overall well-being and help you decide in your child’s best interests.
- Divorce or parenting coach: This neutral coach concentrates on preparing communication strategies, techniques and other tools to support the transition of your relationship to being co-parents.
One of the potential drawbacks that may result in the breakdown of the process is when you or your spouse fails to fully disclose critical information. Since there is no formal procedure forcing either party to provide accurate information, any party who becomes combative runs the risk of alienating the other. In the worst cases, the collaborative divorce falls apart.
On the other hand, if the process ends with an agreement, you may submit all documents for the court’s approval. Then, a final hearing will formalize the dissolution of your marriage.
A confidential, client-centered and customized solution
Before forming a collaborative team, you and your spouse must first see yourselves as a team of your own. As difficult as it is to deal with each other during this emotionally draining season, this could save you time and resources in the long run. Also, it will keep your child away from further animosity. You may consult a legal team to weigh your situation and determine if collaborative divorce is right for your family’s best interests.