John J. Gilligan, a family lawyer in Long Beach, answers:
A collaborative divorce is when both parties and their respective attorneys sign an agreement stating that no matter what happens during the course of the divorce, no court actions will be filed. It involves employing a team of non-lawyers, if necessary, such as mental health professionals, forensic accountants, certified divorce planners, appraisers, and others to help complete the divorce without going to court. If the parties reach an impasse and cannot settle their case without resorting to court, the agreement must be rescinded and all professional parties involved in the case must resign. The divorcing parties are then free to hire litigation counsel and proceed to divorce court.
John Gilligan is a founding partner at the family law firm offices of Brandmeyer Gilligan Dockstader & Davidson, LLP in Long Beach, CA. John has over 30 years of experience handling family law, probate litigation and estate planning matters. He can be reached directly at 562-431-2000.