The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about collaborative law.
What Is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law is an alternative to divorce litigation that allows couples to end their marriages without going to court and without the conflict and uncertainty that often accompanies the traditional adversarial divorce process. Collaborative law puts the spouses in control of the outcome while providing the support of their own attorneys as well as a team of collaborative professionals.
How Does It Work?
When a couple decides to end their marriage using the collaborative divorce process they make a commitment to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of all issues without resorting to the courts. Negotiation is conducted in a series of four way meetings.
Each spouse is represented by their own collaborative attorney who provides counsel and guides them through the process. In addition, when necessary spouses have access to a team of collaborative professionals including divorce coaches, child specialist and financial professionals who are there to assist with issues regarding the children and division of assets.
The collaborative process emphasizes looking to the future and finding creative solutions that are in the best interest of all parties without regard for what went wrong in the past or assigning blame.
All parties sign a participation agreement which signifies their commitment to reaching an agreement without resorting to litigation. If for some reason the collaborative process fails, the spouses will have to hire new legal counsel if they wish to litigate.
Will Collaborative Divorce Work For Me?
While the collaborative divorce process isn't right for everyone, it is the best solution for people who are looking for a respectful way to end their marriage without the conflict and contention that is part of the adversarial process.
If you can answer yes to some of the following statements then collaborative law might be an option for you.
1. You desire to end your marriage with dignity and mutual respect for one another.
2. You desire to make your children a priority and want to protect them from the conflict of divorce litigation.
3. You want your personal matters to remain private and not become part of public record.
4. You appreciate the importance of protecting your circle of extended family and friends from the pain of divorce and from being forced to take sides.
5. You want to retain control over the process and the outcome and do not wish to have a judge determine what's best for your family.
Is It Expensive?
Every case is different. There's no way to accurately predict how much your divorce is going to cost. Collaborative family lawyers typically charge hourly the same as traditional divorce attorneys. Because the collaborative team is focused on solutions, information is disclosed voluntarily without the need for discovery and because experts are shared neutral parties, collaborative divorce will typically cost significantly less than conventional divorce litigation.
If you are considering divorce and think that collaborative law might be an option, contact a collaborative professional and schedule a consultation. A trained collaborative professional will be able to review your particular circumstances and advise whether collaborative law could work for you.