Collaborative Divorce Process

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Collaborative divorce is an option that is opted by the spouses, who want to go for a stress free and cheaper divorce process. There are some steps for this type of divorce that need to followed by the couples and their lawyers:

Steps in Collaborative Divorce Process

  • When the marriage is reached to the state of major conflicts, the couple decides to have a divorce. If they want to have a peaceful divorce then usually, they have the following aims:
    • To stay out of court
    • Inflict less damage on themselves and the kids
    • Spend less amount of money
  • The spouses who want to have to achieve these aims in the divorce process, can go for a collaborative divorce. It is necessary to know the details of collaborative process before opting for it
  • The next step is the divorcing partners should hire collaborative lawyers
  • There is an initial 4-way meeting (2 divorcing partners + their 2 lawyers). During this meeting, there is a collaboration agreement and temporary plan
  • The divorcing partners can hire other professionals, like
    • Financial Specialist
    • Child Specialist
    • Divorce Coach
  • There are consultations between the divorcing partners and the other professionals
  • There is a 6-way meeting to decide parenting (2 divorcing partners + 2 lawyers + child specialist + divorce coach)
  • There may be additional similar 6-way meetings
  • If the meeting are successful to help the couple to reach to an agreement regarding child custody and visitation, the Parenting Settlement is drafted
  • There is a 6-way meeting to decide Financial issues (2 divorcing partners + 2 lawyers + financial specialist + divorce coach). During this, assets and budget are determined. There are Model Settlements
  • There may be additional similar 6-way meetings
  • After reaching to the final conclusion of financial distribution and property matters, a financial settlement is drafted
  • The collaborative lawyers negotiate final details and draft final pleadings
  • There is a final 7-way meeting (2 divorcing partners + 2 lawyers + child specialist + financial specialist + divorce coach)
  • Closure of the case is done after signing the final agreement which states the settlement of marital issues
  • Discussion of post dissolution issues

Participants in Collaborative Divorce Process

  • The divorcing partners: They have the following aims:
    • Safeguard their children from emotional harm
    • Retain self and spouse's dignity
    • Decrease senseless conflict and relational stress and damage
    • Save public exposure, time and money
    • Ensure a vital relation with the children
    • Remain financially solvent in the future

    For this, these partners should be ready to be transparent, to offer true and precise information and deal with the various issues in a straightforward approach. They must sign a participation agreement before entering into this procedure.

  • Collaborative Lawyers: Some lawsuit attorneys develop an opinion that court litigation does not help divorcing partners. These attorneys undergo collaborative training. Their intention is to protect the family from the perils of a divorce. They develop a secure ambiance for the divorcing partners to negotiate in a fair manner. Similar to a lawsuit, they advise their client individually. Unlike a lawsuit, they cultivate a trusting relation with the client's spouse
  • Divorce Coach: This person assists the divorcing spouses to overcome the emotional hurdles on way to efficient negotiation. The person may be a psychologist or a social worker or a collaboratively trained counselor. This person helps to keep the comfortable environment by avoiding emotional outbursts and fights
  • Certified Divorce Financial Specialist: This individual helps in identification of assets and liabilities. Moreover, he / she develops a strategy to fulfill the economical aims of the spouses. Usually, this person is a collaboratively trained certified public accountant. The involvement of this specialist results in the Property Settlement. This is a formal agreement about property transfers, inclusive of QDROs
  • Child Specialist: This professional interviews the children, speaks with them regarding parenting issues and raises voice about the concerns of the children. This specialist may be a psychologist or a social worker or a collaboratively trained counselor. His / Her role is to enable the divorcing parents to reach an agreement regarding parenting and protection of their children
  • Vocational Specialist: Useful when a spouse must change his / her job or is unemployed. The specialist help the partner to get financial support for career and assists to explore new options for the job
  • Mortgage Specialist: When there is access to real estate equity, economical issues are resolved by this person
  • Professional assistants: For reasons like individual counseling, alcohol / drug treatment, psychiatric referrals and business valuations

In this way, the process for collaborative divorce is fulfilled. If the process fails to provide the satisfactory outcome, the divorce case is converted into a regular dissolution. It is necessary to remember that the lawyers who work for the collaborative process are not allowed to represent the partners in a contested case.

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