Collaborative Divorce

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Collaborative Divorce Information

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Collaborative divorce refers to a divorce framework in which both parties in the divorce agree that they want to resolve potential disputes that may come up during the divorce with as little conflict as possible. Collaborative divorce is designed to occur without the need for court proceedings until both couples have already completed negotiations. In short, collaborative divorce is meant to be a collaborative effort in which both parties agree to resolve divorce issues in as neutral and collaborative a manner as possible.

Key Components of a Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce consists of certain characteristics, otherwise known as key components. The key components of a collaborative divorce include:

  • Using collaborative divorce lawyers who are trained to help both parties reach an agreement without conflict.
  • Communicate effectively, fairly, and without attacks or emotion-based decisions.
  • In cases where the divorcing couple are parents, ensuring that everything negotiated during the divorce is done with the children’s best interests in mind.
  • Obtaining neutral experts to help resolve conflicts, if necessary
  • No significant changes made to ‘sensitive matters,’ which can include insurance and assets
  • Agreeing that all issues will be settled through negotiations in the future, even those not agreed-upon during the earliest stages of the divorce

A collaborative divorce is defined by its collaborative nature, rather than a conflict-based nature which can be a norm in other divorce proceedings. As a general rule of thumb, a collaborative divorce can take anywhere from 8 months to 14 months to complete, depending on the amount of negotiations required, how often the two divorcing parties have to meet, and whether or not any barriers or other issues come up during the proceedings.

Responsibilities of Collaborative Divorce Lawyers

A collaborative divorce lawyer is a lawyer that specializes in negotiating collaborative divorce proceedings. In general, collaborative divorce lawyers have a responsibility to do several things for their clients, as well as for the other party.

First, collaborative divorce lawyers should look into any potential issues that could affect the divorce process down the line. This includes mental health concerns or legal barriers that can impact divorce proceedings, even unknowingly. Then, the lawyer will be responsible for informing their client of what they should expect through the collaborative divorce process, including the various documents and procedures necessary to complete it. Before any negotiations can begin, both lawyers must have their clients sign the “participation agreement,” which is a contract that stipulates that both parties agree to use cooperative methods–rather than conflict–during the divorce process.

During negotiations, a collaborative divorce lawyer can be responsible for guiding their client during the collaborative process. This can involve simply sitting back and offering assistance if the client isn’t sure about what to do next in the process, or suggesting resolutions to the client in case of conflict with the other divorcing party. Next, the lawyer will need to create and provide a draft of the collaborative agreement to the court once everything has been negotiated.

Sometimes, resolutions cannot be reached on certain issues despite the collaborative agreement. In these cases, their collaborative divorce attorneys will be disqualified from representing them, and they will need new representation in family court.

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