The Collaborative Process
The Collaborative Process is a specialized problem-solving process. The process usually has superior results and is usually less costly and time-consuming. The process can be flexible, but generally there are two types of collaborative cases: Lawyer-Only and Interdisciplinary.
Lawyer-Only Collaborative: Consists of two clients and their two lawyers.
Interdisciplinary Collaborative: Consists of two clients, their two lawyers, plus additional professionals, depending on the parties’ requirements.
In many collaborative divorces, especially involving children, the additional neutral professionals may include Child Specialists, Divorce Coaches, Career Advisors, or Financial Advisors, e.g., a CDFA, a CPA or a real estate / mortgage specialist.
How can we determine if a Collaborative Divorce is right for us? We recommend both you and your spouse to reach out to a collaborative attorney (find one now) and take an introductory meeting. Some professionals will be willing to meet with you both, or you can start by selecting and meeting with your own Collaborative Professional [At this point there is usually no reason not to share your steps with your spouse or partner, especially as you set up a meeting and gather the information requested to get started.
Find your Team
The unique part of Collaborative Divorce is that you can have a team of professionals in their own disciplines with the goal to help clients solve disputes in a respectful manor and achieve a healthy and positive outcome. Team roles can be optional and tailored to the specific needs of the family. All the professionals and client on the team are allowed to communicate directly with one another about the case to insure that the desired outcome for both parties is met. The team of professionals typically includes:
Meet with both parties with collaborative attorneys and selected professionals. Go over the Collaborative divorce process in detail, and both parties must sign the participation agreement that pledges both parties are committing to negotiate the entire case outside of court, full disclosure and exchange of information, and a solution that will be positive for both spouses and children if they are involved. At the end of the first meeting follow up meetings are scheduled, it can take 3-6 meetings, depending on the complexity of the issues and how the clients work together, to rectify a resolution.
If both parties committed to the Collaborative divorce process of respect, open communication, full disclosure, and family focused a resolution almost always takes place. Once you find a resolution that both parties are satisfied with, an agreement is drafted by the attorneys. Once both parties sign you are finished with the collaborative process and are legally considered divorced.