Collaborative divorce is an alternative way to approach the divorce process. In this model, both parties hire attorneys who have been trained in the collaborative process.
Once retained, the attorneys then choose a divorce coach who is a mental health professional also trained in the collaborative process. The coach schedules the meetings and helps the couple work though the various non-legal issues that are also involved in the divorce process. The divorce coach is especially helpful when the parties have minor children. The coach helps the parties work through their differences, including parenting styles and the emotional toll of the divorce.
Often, there is a fourth member of the collaborative team, and that is a normally a certified public accountant (CPA) or financial planner who has also been trained in the collaborative process. The CPA or financial planner assists the parties and lawyers with creating budgets, valuing assets and structuring settlements. The team and the parties then exchange information and begin the negotiation process.
What Are The Benefits Of Collaborative Divorce?
The cornerstone of the collaborative process is that nothing is filed with the court unless and until a full and final settlement is reached. This serves to promote the amicable process. In order for this to work, both sides have to be willing to cooperate with financial disclosures and settlement discussions.
In the event the collaborative process breaks down or an emergency arises and litigation must be initiated, both collaborative attorneys must withdraw and both parties have to hire new counsel to take over. At that point, the collaborative model is complete and is replaced by traditional litigation.