Have you heard about it, collaborative divorce? While couples have been divorcing for ages, this process is relatively new by comparison. Collaborative Divorce officially began in the late 90’s in Minnesota and California. Almost 20 years later and collaborative divorce is now an option available to most across the U.S.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce differs from traditional divorce and provides an alternative process for parties seeking an out-of-court agreement. The idea of collaborative divorce is to promote agreement and free exchange of information through private negotiations. In collaborative divorce, each party hires an attorney and all four work together in a cooperative, non-adversarial process with a mutual goal of reaching a fair settlement of all issues. The clients and lawyers sign agreements limiting the lawyers’ work to settlement negotiations and require the lawyers to withdraw if a court is asked to decide any of the issues.
The parties and attorneys communicate and negotiate directly with one another in structured four-way settlement meetings. Binding commitments are made by both parties and their respective attorneys to voluntarily disclose all financial and other relevant information, and to proceed respectfully and in good faith in settlement negotiations. In order to succeed in collaborative divorce, both clients must be willing to hear the interests and concerns of the other spouse and be able to move forward respectfully.
What Are the Advantages of Collaborative Divorce?
There are a number of advantages to choosing collaborative divorce, here are just a few:
Commitment to an Out-of-Court Settlement Agreement
If you find yourself seeking divorce options, arm yourself with as much information as possible. Whatever your choice, it’s a very personal one and collaborative divorce requires commitment to a settlement agreement. Those considering a collaborative divorce must be willing to resolve all related support, custody, and property disputes in a constructive and reasoned atmosphere. As previously mentioned, both parties must agree that they will not go to court and if anyone wants to do so, both attorneys must withdraw.
Diane S. Diel practices family law including collaborative divorce and mediation. She brings practical problem-solving skills to your family matter and seeks creative and respectful solutions. For questions or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.