Collaborative Divorce: An Unfamiliar Option Explained

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Collaborative Divorce: An Unfamiliar Option Explained


What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to the traditional “courtroom and judge” divorce process. Unlike the mediation process, where the couple typically sits down with a single mediator to discuss matters, spouses going through the collaborative process each hire a specially trained collaborative-divorce attorney. The attorneys are not always the only people helping the spouses sort out their affairs. Oftentimes, specialists like counselors, coaches and financial advisors will join in the process. As a group, the attorneys, spouses and specialists will work together, outside the watch of the court, and walk through the issues at hand.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

Collaborative Divorce can be a humane, less costly way to end your marriage.  More importantly, the collaborative divorce process can reduce trauma for children. The whole process takes place before a divorce is even filed with the Court. Once a resolution is reached on all issues, then the settlement will be submitted to the Court for the Judge to sign off on. If the collaborative process just isn’t working for you and your spouse, the court system will still be available and a case can always be filed.

However, if things do fall apart, there is an interesting quirk to the process. Once a case is filed with the Court, your collaborative attorneys must withdraw from your case, and you will need to obtain new representation. This keeps your attorney during the collaborative process from undermining the process or trying to persuade you to litigate to receive a better or different result. This quirk further develops everyone’s commitment to the process.

Overall, the collaborative divorce process could be extremely beneficial to you and your spouse. Spouses who are willing to temporarily set aside their differences and work with their team of attorneys and specialists have the opportunity to both receive an outcome they are pleased with. They are also able to work through complex issues that likely would not get the time and attention if you choose to litigate. If you are considering the collaborative process, make sure and research the process and commit to giving it your full effort.

Meet with a St. Louis divorce lawyer today to discuss your options.