Collaborative Law – Collaborative Divorce
If you want the support of having a lawyer of your own, but you are committed to the peaceful resolution of your divorce, consider using a process called collaborative law.
In a collaborative process, each spouse is represented by an attorney who is committed to a fair resolution of all the issues in the divorce. To begin the process, both spouses and their attorneys, divorce coach and financial neutral sign an agreement that calls for the following:
- Each spouse agrees to fully disclose and exchange all financial documents that will allow for fully informed financial decisions.
- Both spouses and their attorneys, divorce coach and financial neutral agree to maintain absolute confidentiality during the process, creating a safe environment for spouses to freely express needs and concerns.
- The spouses agree to reach a written agreement on all issues and not to seek a judge’s intervention, and agree that the attorneys may use the written agreement to obtain a final court decree.
- Both spouses, both attorneys, the divorce coach and financial neutral agree that if either party ends the collaborative process before they have reached an agreement, both attorneys, the divorce coach and financial neutral must withdraw from the case and the attorneys can’t represent their respective clients in a court fight. To go to court, the spouses must hire new lawyers.
Central to the collaborative law process is the commitment by everyone involved to resolving instead of litigating.
During the collaborative law process, the parties and their team meet in a neutral setting to begin negotiations. All meetings include both spouses, both attorneys, the divorce coach and financial neutral. All participants must contribute to positive discussions. The roles of the divorce coach and financial neutral may vary from case to case, but the primary role of the divorce coach is to provide to both spouses ways to cope with the emotional stresses of divorce. The primary role of the financial neutral is to provide to both spouses financial and tax advice so they can make well informed financial decisions for their agreement.
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