When two people want to dissolve their marriage, they’ll often enter into a collaborative divorce. This is an alternative to a traditional divorce proceeding. In collaborative divorces, both people agree to stay civil and to resolve their issues amicably. In this way, they can end their marriage without being combative and destructive. While collaborative divorces still require lawyers, the attorneys are there to simply advise for the most part. The first step is for both people and their respective lawyers to sign a participation agreement.
Stu Webb, an attorney in Minnesota, began the collaborative divorce in 1990. After he had worked with couples going through a divorce, he noticed the distress caused by lengthy court proceedings. He developed the collaboration approach for couples who were willing to work together but didn’t yet have a method to carry out a civil divorce.
Collaborative divorces are similar to mediation. The divorce is carried out constructively, with negotiations that don’t cause distress. Unlike traditional divorces, neither party is interested in harming the other or causing any type of emotional or mental harm. Collaborative divorces are primarily helpful if children are involved. By staying neutral and not arguing, the children are ultimately protected once the divorce is finalized.
The agreement that is signed at the onset of a collaborative divorce contains the following information:
This agreement sets the tones for all of the meetings that are to follow. The overall purpose of a collaborative divorce is to finalize the agreement quickly and in a civil matter that benefits both parties. Ideally, personal issues are left out of collaborative divorces. The best part of a collaborative divorce is that it keeps the couple out of court as they sort out negotiations.
As part of a collaborative divorce, some couples, depending on their specific status and needs, will have outside help as well. Divorce coaches, family or child specialists and financial advisers may all be part of a collaborative divorce. Basically, any professionals who are needed to allow the divorce to go smoothly will be involved.
Collaborative divorces don’t simply assume that there won’t be any details that aren’t agreed upon between the customer. These problems, though, are approached civilly and an outcome is decided upon by both parties. Problem areas aren’t ignored, but are instead pinpointed so that solutions can be offered. Also, collaborative divorces take several meetings to carry out.
While the idea of a collaborative divorce is great, it doesn’t always go as planned. Emotions often play a large part in the divorce proceedings, even if the initial intent was to remain professional and composed. As part of the agreement, both lawyers state that if the divorce doesn’t proceed amicably, they will remove themselves from the proceedings. This means that the parties will likely have to find new representation.
If you have questions about a Collaborative Divorce, you can call (602) 254-8880 to speak with an attorney now. If you would like to send us an email please click here.
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