Sandra Rosenbloom, a family lawyer and collaborative practitioner in North- field, answers:
The Collaborative process for divorce is a wise choice for many couples contemplating divorce. The fact that the two of you have discussed this as an option indicates that the two of you are capable of cooperating to work out the details of your divorce. This is important.
The Collaborative process works best with couples who recognize that the family will benefit both emotionally and financially by working with Collaboratively trained professionals to sort out the many challenges posed by a divorce, such as parenting time and scheduling; considering future responsibilities for children’s issues such as choice of schools and private or higher education cost sharing; maximizing financial resources for both spouses going forward; allocation of debt; and allocation of assets. It works best for couples who are willing to work these challenges out by trusting each other to provide all the necessary information each will require to make good decisions, both financially and personally.
Spouses who have good reasons to suspect the other one of hiding assets may need to use the formal discovery process available only through litigation. The Collaborative process may not be best if either or both spouses have serious untreated substance abuse or mental health problems that they refuse to address.
However, couples suffering these impairments and disabilities and going through divorce should consider that the Collaborative process may be an ideal process in which to address those problems if there is a willingness to work them out during the divorce. The “safety” the Collaborative process provides for persons who might be further harmed by the stresses of a litigated divorce should be discussed before a decision not to participate Collaboratively is made.