Collaborative divorce is all about cooperation between the divorcing couple, and Minnesota divorce attorney Stu Webb has his own story about how it can help couples. He grew fatigued by the hostile and scaring nature of litigation. He then decided to change direction and built a community of lawyers. All of them agreed to commit themselves and their cases to reach out-of-court settlements, exclusively for their clients, with the idea to make divorce a “win” for both parties rather than the “win/lose” model of traditional litigation.
The Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is based on both the lawyer and the divorcing parties agreeing in writing to refrain from using or threatening to use the courts to resolve problems during the negotiation process. Instead, the couple and lawyers use good-faith negotiation and problem-solving skills to reach a resolution. If either party breaks the agreement by turning to the courts, the collaboration lawyers cannot participate in litigation against the other party.
Nowadays, all states in the U.S. acknowledge collaborative divorce as a divorce mechanism, as do numerous other countries. An estimated 50,000 couples in the U.S. and Canada have chosen this method to dissolve their marriage, and more than 20,000 lawyers are trained as collaborative divorce lawyers.
An Effective Process
In 2010, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) Research Committee surveyed 933 collaboration professionals throughout the United States and Canada. The IACP found that in 86% of these cases (of which 97% were divorce cases), the parties fully resolved all issues without resorting to court. An additional 2% of the cases ended in reconciliation between the clients.
Collaborative divorce is less exhausting for the members of the family, especially children, who are regularly in the middle of a divorce. Some parents have reported that collaborative divorce helped improve their relationship with their former spouse and allowed them to co-parent in a consistent and amicable way.
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