Collaborative divorce is a path couples can choose to settle their separation, child custody, child support and spousal support issues outside of court. In this non-adversarial process, each party is represented by their own collaboratively trained lawyer, who guide the parties through difficult and important conversations about dividing their property, co-parenting, and financial decisions to support two separate households.
One of the goals of the collaborative divorce process is to preserve the parties’ relationships, despite their legal disagreements, for the sake of their family and their children. When parties engage in a collaborative divorce process, they agree to a full and voluntary exchange of relevant information. After exchanging information, the collaborative lawyers use an interest-based negotiation model, which is a problem-solving approach that focuses on the needs, desires, fears and concerns of the parties rather than only their stated positions or demands.
What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?
- The parties maintain control over the outcome
- The parties are empowered to find creative solutions that a judge does not have the authority to impose
- Preserves relationships for the benefit of the children
- Emphasizes dignity and respect
- Quick and convenient
- Takes place outside the court system on the parties’ own schedules
- Can be conducted via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Cost effective
- Avoids expensive discovery battles
- Avoids costly battles of the experts
- Private and confidential
- Limits records filed in court
- Eliminates the need for invasive depositions
In the collaborative divorce process, the lawyers utilize active listening techniques and empathetic communication skills to peel back the layers of the onion to get to the motivation or the “why” beneath each party’s positions. Once the parties better understand each other’s underlying needs and interests, they can more effectively brainstorm a possible solution that will maximize the potential to meet both parties’ needs.