What is a collaborative divorce?
Simply put, a collaborative divorce is a divorce and separation negotiated through the collaborative law process. Each party is required to retain their own certified collaborative lawyer. The parties and their lawyers sign a contract agreeing to resolve all issues by attending negotiation meetings rather than going to court. At the end of the collaborative process, when all issues are resolved, the parties will then obtain a divorce judgment and legally binding separation agreement.
What are the benefits of a collaborative divorce?
- The collaborative process is generally faster and more cost-effective than alternative processes;
- The collaborative process preserves family relationships;
- The collaborative process gives the parties control over the resolution of their divorce. You are the one making the decision with your lawyer’s guidance, not a judge who does not know you, your spouse, or your children;
- Your family’s issues and your relationship history are entirely confidential within the collaborative process, whereas they become public in the court process;
- The collaborative process is usually a more amicable and less stressful process than the conflict and hostility often witnessed within the court process; and
- You are never alone in the collaborative process. Your collaborative lawyer is there to help you and guide you at every step of the way.
When a collaborative divorce may not be appropriate
Even if you are experiencing conflict with your spouse after separation, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot be successful in the collaborative process. Your collaborative lawyers will help guide you and your spouse through the difficulties arising from your separation.
However, in some limited circumstances, the collaborative process may not be appropriate. If there are issues of domestic violence, significant power dynamics, criminal no-contact conditions, or concerns regarding dishonesty and hiding assets, you should discuss these issues with your collaborative lawyer prior to entering the process and he/she will determine if you are a suitable candidate for collaboration.