I recently attended a two day training through The Institute for Family Conflict Resolution on a new area of law called Collaborative Divorce. Yes, I said Collaborative Divorce. No, those words are not an oxymoron.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
A Collaborative Divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process where clients have the power to make decisions with regards to their finances and children without having a judge make these decisions for them. The clients work with a team of professionals to consider the legal, emotional and financial components of reaching a mutually acceptable and durable agreement.
Who is the Collaborative Divorce “team?”
The team includes a collaboratively trained attorney for each party, a neutral mental health professional (called the “Coach”), and a financial neutral. A neutral licensed mental health professional works with the parties on the emotional and psychological aspect that is present in every divorce. The financial neutral is there to help both parties and the other team members understand all the financial aspects of the divorce, including property division, post-divorce budgeting, and maintenance, when applicable.
Why chose Collaborative Divorce?
A Collaborative Divorce is a holistic approach to a divorce that is meant to be efficient and private. It addresses the legal, emotional and financial components of a divorce. Parties are typically dealing with a crisis already when it comes time to file for divorce. By dealing with the emotional aspect of a divorce, (which is usually ignored or exploited during the typical divorce process) parties are able to make decisions regarding their finances and children in a less stressful and less traumatic way. By allowing the financial neutral to be involved, the parties are able to make more sound decisions with regards to their finances, for the present and the long-term.
What does Collaborative Divorce Costs?
The cost depends on the nature and complexity of the issues involved; however, it is almost always more cost efficient than contested litigation that involves a court trial. A Collaborative Divorce could be around the same price as a mediated divorce, but the results of a Collaborative Divorce are better as the parties are reaching a mutually acceptable and durable agreement and not just an agreement that they were forced to agree upon to settle the case. Additionally, since the Collaborative Divorce process reduces the conflict during the divorce process and allows the parties to work together to reach an agreement, the parties may be able to save the time and money of post-divorce litigation.