Collaborative divorce began with a group of lawyers who committed to avoiding the courtroom because they believed that the court was not designed for families. The foundation of collaboration is settlement without the threat of litigation that is guided by the clients rather than the professionals. Although each couple is different and there are multiple divorce paths to take, there are several benefits to taking the route of collaborative divorce.
Because collaborative divorce rests on the empowerment of the client, every decision made during the process must be mutually agreed upon. When people are working together toward the same goal rather than separately toward their own interests, confrontation can often be avoided.
The goal with collaborative divorce is to avoid litigation, which can be a lengthy emotionally and financially draining process. When a divorcing couple agrees on all issues themselves and only has to involve the courts when it’s time to approve a settlement agreement, extra legal fees can be avoided.
An honest exchange of information is a pillar of collaboration. Both parties agree to disclose all relevant materials upfront, which sparks a facts-based discussion with the assumption that informal discovery won’t be needed.
No element of surprise exists with collaborative divorce like it can with traditional divorce, or even mediation. Negotiations and resolutions are conducted and decisions made by the divorcing couple rather than a third party, like a mediator or a judge.
The first step of collaborative divorce is for both individuals to sign a Participation Agreement that outlines the nature and scope of the process. In this agreement, everyone agrees to disclose all available facts and to use good faith and respect to come up with the terms of the divorce.
The collaborative divorce process includes the participation of specialists, attorneys, and divorce coaches who are experienced in this method of divorce and are available to help set you up for success. Lawyers advise based on the unique needs of the couple, mental health professionals help manage pain and stress in order to focus on goals and positive outcomes, and financial professionals provide resources and support in preparing the family for financial stability and health after divorce.
When a divorce involves children, child specialists are incorporated to ensure their needs are made a priority rather than a tool for negotiation. These specialists provide children with a safe space to express their feelings and encourage them to envision a happy future.
Have more questions about which path to divorce is the best fit? At Shafer Law Firm, we have several skilled attorneys happy to assist you and answer any questions about divorce that you may have. Contact us for more information.
About the Author: Kyle M. Janes
Kyle grew up in Meadville and attended Meadville Area Senior High. He attended college at Allegheny College. Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Kyle returned to Meadville to serve the community where he grew up.
Kyle has a diverse family law practice, including divorce, support, custody, juvenile dependency, adoption, pre-nuptial agreements, protection from abuse, and other domestic relations issues. His compassion for his clients and his knowledge of the law allow him to work on a full range of cases, from simple to complex.
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