What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a a process where both parties hire attorneysto help them settle the case without going to Court.
Collaborative attorneys are trained not only in family law, but conflict management. Conflict resolution is the single most important skill a family lawyer should possess.
Resolution is the Goal
At the heart of collaborative divorce is resolution.
Each party is represented by lawyers. These lawyers have specialized training in resolving family law conflicts. They promise not to pull any pitbull or scorched earth tactics. They also pledge NOT to go to Court. The promise is sealed with a Stipulation that if the case goes to Court, the parties will need to engage other lawyers. (Disqualification promise).
Promise to NOT Litigate
The promise NOT to litigate is reassurance that the lawyers have the parties’ best interest at heart (not their pocketbooks). (In case you didn’t know, lawyers get paid for time spent fighting, NOT the win. Even if you lose, you will need to pay your lawyers.)
Instead of traditional litigation, where parties file motions seeking Judge’s intervention, collaborative divorce is handled via joint meetings with the parties, attorneys, and forensics. The meetings encourage settlement and moving forward, instead of conflict and delay promulgated by the court system.
The parties may also hire other helpers, like mental health professionals, and financials, to enable settlement. The parties promise in writing to exchange disclosures with full transparency.
Why would I choose Collaborative Divorce when I know my attorney won’t go to Court if the case won’t settle and I have to spend extra money to hire a new attorney?
Not going to Court means people will work to resolve the case. Going to Court means SOMEONE has to lose.
The reason collaborative divorce works is because each party involved PLEDGES to be transparent and NOT to go to Court. To make their pledge known, they sign a disqualification agreement at the outset, so every one knows that they will not attempt to use the collaborative process to unfairly gain an advantage, then run to court with the information. The disqualification agreement discourages dirty tactics. If the parties fall out of the collaborative process, it will be very costly for them to hire new attorneys to represent them in Court.
Family law is unique. Unlike civil or criminal law, “winning” in family law comes at great costs, especially in custody battles where the victims are the children. Unfortunately, many attorneys are not trained to handle the conflict involved in family law. As such, they use only the skills they learn to fight, fight, fight, driving up needless fees and costs, only to yield very little positive results. How do you know if the attorney you hired has your best interests at heart, or is merely using your anger as fuel to generate unnecessary litigation? Sometimes it’s not so clear. That’s why collaborative divorce is worth exploring – as the attorneys PROMISE to be the solution, and not needlessly fight.
Isn’t that expensive?
It’s not any more expensive than hiring 2 lawyers to LITIGATE your case. With collaborative divorce, you have a lawyer representing your interests. You also have reassurance that this lawyer is trained in Family Law, and is working in your family’s best interests.
Benefit of Collaborative Law
- Divorce issues are handled in JOINT meetings, not costly court motions.
- Each party has their own attorney to represent their interests and advocate for them.
- Clients maintain control over the process.
- Private and confidential.
- The focus is on settlement and the well-being of the family, children and post-divorce relationships.
- Work with professionals who are well-versed in Family Law and collaborative settings.
- Clients know they will never be cross-examined by the collaborative lawyer, so the setting encourages trust.
- Clients know that when they hire a Collaborative lawyer, their Collaborative lawyer is 100% committed to settling the case, and not driving up fees.
To learn more about the procedure, please visit www.collaborativepractice.com
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