Divorce Options – Collaborative Practice

You and your spouse or partner each have your own lawyer. You create your “collaborative team” to assist you in the process. Typically, both parties and their professionals meet together to reach resolution.

Benefits/Advantages of Collaborative Practice:

  • You choose the professionals you need based on your priorities and the issues to be resolved
    • Your lawyers help you each comply with the legal requirements, help you respectfully negotiate your settlement, and draft your agreement and other legal documents.
    • A neutral financial can help you collate your information, educate the person least familiar with the family finances, and provide a picture of your financial future based on the settlement options you are considering
    • A coach (mental health professionals) can provide you with the communication skills needed to effectively participate in the process and/or help you create your parenting plan
    • A child specialist can bring your child’s voice into the room
  • You benefit from the team’s expertise and having the right professional deal with each of your issues
  • Your lawyers are not neutral; your lawyer is there to support and advise you
  • The conversation between you and your spouse or partner is facilitated by your professionals
  • The Collaborative Process provides more support for difficult dynamics
  • The negotiation is interest-based (keeping both parties’ goals and concerns in mind) rather than typical “marketplace bargaining”
  • Typically, the Collaborative Process is less expensive and shorter than litigation
  • Because all of the professionals sign an enforceable agreement that they will not represent or assist you or your spouse in court, you can be assured that your spouse’s lawyer will never be “against” you in an adversary proceeding.  This creates a safe environment for your discussions.
  • When agreements are made together, they are more likely to be kept
  • You have the ability to develop creative solutions tailored to your situation
  • The process is private
  • Participation in the Collaborative Process is voluntary and one or both of you can opt out at any time
  • Decision making is in your hands: you control the outcome
  • You can use Collaborative Process to design creative solutions where there is no law or the law is unclear
  • The Collaborative Process promotes the preservation of the parenting, friendship, business, and family relationships

Risks/Disadvantages of Collaborative Practice:

  • Collaborative Process usually involves multiple professionals:
    • There may be a higher cost
    • Scheduling and logistics can be complicated
  • If the process terminates, none of your professionals can represent or assist you in most other processes
  • Team/client dynamics might be difficult
  • You cannot compel a person to make decisions
  • You cannot compel a person to keep commitments
  • You cannot compel a person to meet deadlines for completing tasks

Learn more about collaborative practice.