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Divorcing with Dignity

Collaborative Practice is a voluntary process in which each spouse retains a collaboratively trained lawyer to assist in negotiating a mutually acceptable agreement.  Spouses agree that they will resolve the outstanding issues in a respectful and balanced manner without resorting to the court system.  In the Collaborative process you will work towards resolving such issues as parenting plans, child support, spousal support, and division of property in settlement meetings.  The lawyers and any other collaborative professionals that may be involved will work as a team to facilitate discussions and the negotiation of all issues.  In this process parties are active participants with the Collaborative Professionals assisting the parties in presenting their goals and needs.  In the Collaborative Process you are able to receive legal advice throughout. 

Benefits of Collaborative:

Team Approach:

  • Legal Professionals - You have Lawyers to provide you with legal advice and guidance throughout the entire process.  The lawyers are working together with other Collaborative Professionals to assist you in resolving the issues of your separation. 
  • Family Professionals – the neutral family professional will help people manage their emotions and keep the process on track, which helps keep legal costs down.  Often a Family professional will assist with minimizing costs by facilitating the negotiation of a parenting plan.
  • Financial Professionals –can assist in collecting the various financial documents needed and facilitating a discussion on the financial issues involved which can keep costs down.

Cost Effective: 

  • The Collaborative Process is a much more cost-effective process than the Court process. While the cost will depend upon the complexity of the issues and the time necessary to negotiate an agreement, in the Collaborative Process, most cases cost substantially less than Court cases.
  • The Court process is very expensive due to all of the paperwork that needs to be filed with the Court and all the procedural steps of a Court process. Often in the Court process, parties are incurring fees while their lawyer is simply waiting at court for the Judge to hear their case.

Time Effective:

  • The details of each specific situation influence how quickly a separation or divorce proceeds.  In the Collaborative Process there is a focus on problem-solving, rather than blame and accusations. Full disclosure and open communication will help to address all of the issues in a timely manner.
  •  Working together, the parties, lawyers and other professionals involved, set the timelines in the process in order to keep the matter moving efficiently. In the Court process, you often have to wait for multiple court dates in order to move the matter forward. If your matter must proceed to trial there is often a long wait on the trial list. Matters in the Court process may take years to resolve.

Minimizing the Emotional Impact of a Separation:

  • The Court process can take a huge emotional toll on people going through a separation. Often the Court process can inflame conflict in a separation, whereas the Collaborative Process works to manage and deal with conflict and to find a mutually agreeable resolution.
  • The Collaborative Process involves improving communication and working at resolving any conflict.

Creative Solutions:

  • There is not the rigidness of the only option being the Legal Model.  Rather there is flexibility to develop a resolution that is creative and reflects the needs of both parties even if it is not something that a court would order.