“My spouse told me we should use the collaborative process for our divorce. What is collaborative divorce?”
Collaborative Divorce is a respectful process for resolving conflict with the help of specially trained lawyers and other professionals, without going to court. Each spouse is represented by his or her own lawyer from start to finish, with the additional support of divorce coaches and financial professionals as required. The spouses and professionals work cooperatively to focus on the problems, gather the necessary information needed, and brainstorm together in face to face meetings. The goal is to create as many options as possible to reach a solution that is win-win for both spouses.
What is important to understand is the voluntary and confidential nature of this process. You and your spouse will have to agree to proceed this way and all of your discussions during the process will be kept confidential. You will have the benefit of hearing the comments about the case from both lawyers during the 4-way meetings. You and your spouse will be meeting and discussing various options to resolve your dispute.
To commence the process you, your spouse and your respective lawyers will first sign a contract called “Participation Agreement” which explains the role of lawyers (including the fact that the collaborative lawyers will not be able to represent you in Court should the process break down), you and your spouse’s obligation to act in good faith and provide necessary financial and other documents which will have to be reviewed to enable you and your spouse to make the optimal decisions about your family.
Once you reach an agreement on all contentious issues the lawyers prepare a legally binding contract to you and your spouse to sign. You will each meet with your lawyer separately so each of you could obtain an independent legal advice about your rights and obligations arising from the contract.
Collaborative Divorce is a really cool way to deal with your conflict because it allows you to be creative and unique in your resolution to meet your family’s particular needs.
Dr. Anita Dorczak, is a Lawyer , Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner. She practices alternative processes that let clients resolve divorce and family disputes outside of courtâ€”making the divorce process easier and less confusing. Dr. Dorczak uses her skills to provide reasonable solutions to clients’ problems with the least possible time, cost and stress.