What Is A Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is different than a traditional divorce in several significant ways. First, the parties agree at the outset to resolve matters by negotiation. They then agree to use lawyers trained in collaborative divorce techniques. Most significantly, the parties and the lawyers enter into a binding contract that the parties will only use negotiation and compromise to resolve disputes, that neither party will threaten to go to court, and that both lawyers will resign if one party threatens to go to court.

Second, the collaborating parties select one or more experts to collect and process information. In a traditional divorce, a major part of the lawyer’s work is to ferret out information through adversary discovery means including requests for production, depositions, and investigation. This is not done in collaborative divorce. Instead, the parties agree to use a financial expert to investigate and report to all parties and lawyers what the finances of the parties are. If there are minor children, the parties will use a child expert to help formulate a parenting time plan. If there are issues of any sophistication involving real estate, taxes, retirement assets, the parties will refer the matter to an agreed specialist on these subjects.

Third, if emotional issues surround the divorce, the parties agree to use a coach to process those issues. In a collaborative divorce, the lawyer’s role is to help the specialists gather information, to then “put it all together,” and to then guide the parties into a consensual settlement.

A collaborative divorce is also known as collaborative practice, a peaceful divorce, and negotiated divorce, and a divorce without fighting.

Comments are closed.