Collaborative divorce is a process by which couples work through issues
of child custody, parenting time, division of financial assets and payment
of marital bills and expenses through non-litigation techniques guided
by specially-trained, experienced family law attorneys with the assistance,
if necessary, of collaboratively trained professionals, such as child
and financial specialists. The goals of collaborative practice are similar
to litigation in that collaborative professionals consider the best interests
of the children in custody and parenting time issues and the law in the
division of assets and debts. However, collaborative professionals do
not consider these issues in a vacuum, but rather in ways that also address
the emotional and personal needs of the family that is being separated.
Collaborative practice recognizes that the spouses are often forever linked
– even if divorced – by children, grandchildren and long-time friends.
The collaborative model is designed to assist divorcing spouses work through
their disputes constructively and peacefully. This allows both parties
to move forward as individuals with dignity and respect without the post-traumatic
stress that often accompanies divorce.
Just as in divorce litigation, collaborative practice requires both parties
to provide full disclosure of all relevant issues and facts involving
the children, as well as a full disclosure of all financial assets and
liabilities. Both parties exchange all information and documentation necessary
to make informed decisions regarding custody, parenting time, and division
of the marital estate. Moreover, each party is given the time necessary
to process, evaluate, and apply the information to his/her individual
circumstances. Through collaboration and communication, parties are able
to resolve their differences in such a way that is beneficial to both.
There is a Chinese proverb that is often used by collaborative professionals:
"Never cut what can be untied." This is especially true in cases
where married couples, especially those with children, know that divorce
is inevitable, but do not wish to undergo the financial, personal and
emotional expense and stress of litigation. Dissolution is never a "winner-take-all"
proposition. In fact, in most cases, there are no real winners, only losers.
Protracted litigation takes a personal toll that may never be repaired.
Litigation often results in emotional hurt, hard feelings, distrust and
outright hatred, which negatively impacts the ability of the parties to
successfully co-parent their children.
Collaborative dissolution is for anyone who doesn't want to ruin his/her
life by a divorce. Divorce is never a happy experience, but collaborative
practice makes it as good as it can be. If you are interested in collaborative
divorce, call any member of our collaborative team. We will be glad to
answer any questions, and help you decide whether collaborative divorce
is right for you!