Collaborative divorce is an alternative to the traditional divorce (and other family law situations). Collaborative divorce is different from an uncontested divorce. There are disagreements that the parties haven’t quite been able to resolve themselves. But the parties wish to resolve those disagreements without using formal litigation or arbitration processes.
Some of the key features of the collaborative divorce process are:
- The parties, each with their own attorney, define the issues to be decided and unanimously agree on a resolution, or a means for resolution, for each issue; no resolution is reached without the agreement of all parties.
- Mutual exchange of all information relevant to the dispute, protected from disclosure outside of the collaborative process, and without the costs of formal discovery procedures.
- The parties control the final outcome; reliance on the arbitrary decision of a judge, jury, or arbitrator is generally avoided, and the parties have the ability to craft creative solutions that would not be possible through litigation or arbitration.
- No court, except to finalize the agreement of the parties as necessary.
- Because the parties themselves control both the issues to be resolved and the final outcome, the parties also directly control the costs involved.
- In the event of an impasse on one or more issues in the collaborative process, the parties may elect to either mediate or arbitrate their disputed issues.
The collaborative divorce process requires a team effort between the parties, the attorneys, and any outside experts required in order to receive the benefits of the process. You and the opposing party must each have counsel with unquestioned skill and integrity, as well as special training and commitment.
While the collaborative divorce process may save money on legal fees and experts in highly contested divorce cases, collaborative costs are frequently similar to the costs associated with litigation in mildly contested divorce litigation matters. However, the collaborative divorce process is specifically designed to be less destructive on family relationships than traditional adversarial litigation. This helps to facilitate better future co-parenting and parent/child relationships after divorce.
Our attorneys are trained and experienced in collaborative divorce, and we would be happy to answer your questions about this innovative approach to divorce. Please contact our office for more information regarding collaborative divorce or other alternative dispute resolution methods of resolving your divorce or family law matter.