Collaborative Divorce

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Two parents kissing a baby's cheek

We’ve all heard the horror stories of divorces lasting for years, and no one be satisfied with the final outcome issued by a judge. By the end the money is drained, and the parents will never be able to cooperatively co-parent again. The children are left with a destroyed family.

Collaborative Divorce is a different way to get a divorce out of court.  You will be supported by settlement specialist professionals in order to reach the best result for your family.

What if I told you that there was a way to get a divorce (or allocate parental responsibilities when parents were not married) where you came away from the experience with better communication skills, knowledge about your financial future, and the ability to be cooperative co-parents?

You might not believe me but it is true. If that is your goal, then a collaborative divorce may be best for your family.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative family law is when both parties agree that they will not go to court. They both hire specially trained attorneys who help them come to agreements outside of the court process.

This means that the spouses are working together to reach a common goal. They are not fighting against each other in a battle to “win” something that cannot be won. It also has the benefit that all the family’s dirty laundry is not waived about in open court where the public can gain access to the information. 

A team of professionals helps the spouses in this type of divorce. Each person has their own attorney, and then they also have a Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (a CDF). If appropriate we will also have a Financial Professional (FP).

While it may seem like a lot of professionals around the table, the cost is actually comparable, or possibly less, than a traditional litigated divorce.

The fundamental elements of a Collaborative Divorce are the following:

  • The couple signs an agreement that they are going to settle their matter outside of the court process.
  • Each person hires a specially trained collaborative attorney. This attorney will not go to court with them if they fall out of the collaborative process.  This encourages the attorney to find solutions outside of court. 
  • We agree on a Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (neutral) who is like a mediator plus to help keep your case moving forward.
  • If a Financial Neutral is appropriate we will engage their services (this is optional, they can be very helpful for education or complex estates.)
  • We complete all disclosures, agreements, and documents before filing with the court (unless there is a pressing reason to file).

The basic timeline of a Collaborative Divorce is:

  1. One or both of you reach out to collaborative attorneys for a consultation on the process and to determine if it is right for your family.
  2. Both of you agree that you are going to do Collaborative Divorce and each of you hire your attorney.
  3. The attorneys talk about the family and which neutrals we think would be a good fit.
  4. The couple talks to the recommended neutral and decides on that person.
  5. We schedule our first group meeting with all the professionals and participants. You will probably already have met with your attorney once or several times in preparation.
  6. At the first meeting we talk about expectations, process, and what we need to do first. If we need any agreements right away about finances or parenting we will discuss and agree to those.
  7. We will schedule the next meeting and determine what each person needs to do between now and then.
  8. At the appropriate time we will get all financial disclosures, and reach agreements on the division of assets and debts, maintenance, parenting time, decision making, and child support.
  9. We will have as many, or as few, meetings as your family needs. I’ve done a collaborative case in one meeting, and I’ve done them over 20 meetings. 
  10. Once we’ve reached final agreement the attorneys will finalize the documents and then everyone will sign. These will then be full and final agreements and you will be functionally finished with the process.
  11. The documents will get filed with the court. The attorneys will ensure that all procedures are followed so that you never have to go to the courthouse.  After about 91 days we will get the decree and the attorneys will pass that along to you.  Then you will be formally divorced.

Contact us today for a consultation on how you can have a wholistic and collaborative divorce experience.

For more information, you can also go to these sites:

“I just want to say I feel I am in very good hands with you Meggin. I appreciate you taking the time to hear my concerns and thoughts as we move forward. This was not my past experience with other attorneys and I am very thankful to be working with you.”

–Father in Douglas County