The Collaborative Process is about cooperation, not confrontation. In a collaborative divorce, couples are able resolve their disputes in a fair, open and respectful manner through a process where all agree to work together to create solutions that work well for both parties, without going to court. There are important differences between the collaborative process and the traditional litigation model. In the collaborative process:
- Both parties agree to stay out of court
- The focus is on creating solutions that address the important needs and goals of both parties and their children
- The objective is to reach an efficient and fair settlement of all issues.
The heart of the process involves four-way meetings with the couple and their attorneys, who are specially trained in the principles of collaborative practice and interest based negotiation. The four-way meetings are structured to encourage the exchange of interests, ideas, and various settlement options. Clients are invited to consider how they want to resolve the issues and how they might best create positive solutions. You and your spouse and both collaborative lawyers work as a team, using informal discussions and conferences to settle all issues. The structured problem solving and facilitated communication fosters mutual and positive settlements. Settling matters using the Collaborative Process generally takes much less time and money. In this process those involved will treat each other with respect, listen to each others' concerns and interests, explore all possible choices, and let go of the past to focus on the future.
Depending on the needs, there may be a team that includes the attorneys, financial professionals, divorce coaches, and child specialists. At the beginning of the collaborative process, both clients and lawyers sign a contract stating that the lawyers will not litigate and will not represent their client in court if settlement is not possible. In that case, both parties must retain new attorneys to litigate.
A collaborative divorce requires that both parties commit to work together with their collaborative team to reach a mutual settlement that considers the interests of all and to follow collaborative principles and protocols without the threat or use of the court process. For more information about Collaborative Divorce go to www.collaborativepractice.com.