Collaborative Divorce--An Overview
So what exactly is a “Collaborative Divorce”?
Collaborative Divorce is a client-drive process with a team-oriented approach. In the Collaborative Divorce Process, the parties make a commitment—via a formal Participation Agreement—to resolve their matter without judicial intervention. The parties agree to full disclosure of all relevant information and to provide all requested documentation and/or the necessary authorizations to avoid the need for formal discovery and subpoenas, etc. The parties also agree that everything within the Collaborative Divorce Process is privileged.
The parties build a team which typically consists of a Divorce Coach—whose primary role is to help develop the parenting plan and prepare the parties to effectively co-parent post-divorce, while also handling the intricacies of how/when to tell the children about the divorce, etc.
The team also includes a Financial Neutral—whose primary role is to accumulate and summarize the relevant financial data so that the parties can (1) be fully educated and aware of their financial circumstances and (2) focus on reasonable, cost-effective and fair resolutions of the financial issues in their case.
Rather than attempting to resolve the matter via traditional positional bargaining (i.e., ask for $100,000 knowing you will settle for $60,000 after the other side offers $20,000 and you slowly work your way to the middle)—the parties are encouraged to explore all potential options for settlement, seeking to maximize their resources and generate win-win solutions.
Most importantly—in my humble opinion—the parties are, at the outset, asked to establish their individual goals—both for the process and for after the divorce—at which point the team identifies the shared goals so that the parties can appreciate that even their divorce is a shared enterprise.
We consider Collaborative Divorce to be Divorce for Grown-Ups.