Family Law

Collaborative Divorce

A Collaborative Divorce process is an alternative method of resolving a divorce whereby both spouses, along with their respective attorneys, work together to reach a mutually agreeable settlement in a team-oriented approach outside of court.  In a Collaborative Divorce, they must adhere to the following principles:

  • Acting with honesty, transparency, and candor;
  • Demonstrating cooperation, respect, and dignity;
  • Focusing on the future well-being of themselves and their children; and
  • Committing to resolve matters outside of court.

Key features of a collaborative divorce process include:

  • Voluntary Participation: Both spouses must willingly agree to participate in the collaborative process. This commitment is usually formalized in a written agreement called a Participation Agreement.
  • Open Communication: The process encourages open and transparent communication between the spouses, their attorneys and professional neutrals. This helps build trust and facilitates a more constructive dialogue.
  • Neutral Professionals: In addition to attorneys, collaborative divorce often involves the use of neutral professionals such as a financial specialist, mental health professionals, or child specialists. These experts can help address specific issues and provide guidance to both parties.
  • Problem-Solving Approach: Instead of focusing on positional bargaining and “winning” or “losing,” the collaborative process emphasizes joint problem-solving. The goal is to find solutions that meet the needs and interests of both spouses and any children involved.
  • Out-of-Court Resolution: A key aspect of collaborative divorce is the commitment to resolving disputes outside of court. If the collaborative process breaks down, and either party decides to go to court, the collaborative attorneys are usually disqualified from further involvement, and new litigation-focused attorneys may need to be retained.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Collaborative divorce proceedings are often confidential, which means that discussions and negotiations that occur during the process may not be admissible in court. This can encourage more candid and open communication.

The collaborative divorce process is seen as an alternative to traditional litigated divorces, offering a more amicable and less adversarial way to end a marriage. It is important for both spouses to be committed to the process and to work together to find solutions that meet the needs of all parties involved.