In a nutshell, it’s “Not Court, but Consensus; Not Combat, but Collaboration; Not Coercion, but Cooperation.” Collaborative divorce law is a model of conflict resolution that seeks to resolve marital matters directly between the parties without the threat of litigation or intervention by a judge.
Collaborative divorce law, which many consider an enlightened, saner method of family dispute resolution, is a transparent, collaborative process, meaning that the parties and their attorneys freely and honestly provide the other with important financial information, whether specifically requested or not.
The parties must deal honestly with each other and communicate in a respectful manner and above all, protect their children from the conflict. Children should not become casualties of their parents’ divorce and Collaborative professionals keep this goal central during the process.
When parties agree to enter into the collaborative process, they and their attorneys pledge that none of them will seek or threaten court intervention. If court intervention is sought, the attorneys disengage from the process and the parties must seek different litigation counsel. The collaborative process seeks to find resolutions of marital matters that meet the needs of all members of the family; economic threats are not made during the process nor are the parties permitted to take positions regarding parenting as strategies to achieve their goals.
If the valuation of property or assets is required, the parties agree to engage joint neutral experts, rather than individually retained experts. Collaborative family lawyers try to understand both parties and to achieve a fair outcome not only for their clients but the family as a whole. Collaborative divorce practitioners are trained in the process and utilize various mediation models within the collaborative process to achieve resolution of the conflict.
Those who are interested in utilizing Collaborative Divorce Law process should seek qualified, trained professionals in their area.
Philip S. Milone, Esq., has practiced traditional matrimonial law for 23 years. He is a member of the New York Collaborative Law Group and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.