Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce

This relatively new method of alternate dispute resolution requires that the parties and their attorneys enter into a participation agreement where they pledge not to file anything with the Court, but instead work together to achieve settlement by assembling a team of professionals, all of whom – including counsel – are collaboratively trained. The collaborative team will vary from case to case, and can consist of simply the parties and their attorneys. The first step is a four-way conference of the parties and their attorneys to identify needs, goals and objectives, and what (if any) other collaborative professionals may be necessary to achieve them. They can be financial professionals, mental health professionals, and even real estate and mortgage banking professionals. This method allows the parties to work at their own pace, without having to worry about arbitrary Court deadlines or delays. We consider it to be a kinder, gentler process, but it can work in even the most highly contested situations. If settlement is achieved, the attorneys file the necessary Court paperwork to finalize the divorce. If not, the parties have “fallen out” of the process and must begin again with new attorneys. The attorneys who worked collaboratively on the case are prohibited from representing their clients in contested Court proceedings.