What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to traditional divorce.
In a traditional, litigated divorce the parties typically move through several stages until the case is either settled or makes it to trial.
The stages are:
1. Negotiation between the parties;
2. Negotiation between the attorneys;
4. Post-mediation negotiation; and
Throughout all of these stages, the parties can engage in formal discovery and ask the court to grant various requests in countless motions and hearings.
In a Collaborative Divorce, the parties agree that they will suspend their rights to engage in anything other than formal meetings between themselves and the rest of the collaborative team, which typically includes their attorneys and two neutral professionals.
One of the neutrals is known as the Financial Professional (FP) – usually a CPA, CFP, or CDFA – and the other is the Mental Health Professional (MHP).
Although the MHP is likely to be a psychologist or licensed clinical social worker, the role of the MHP is not to counsel or analyze any of the participants. Rather, the MHP’s job is to run the meetings and help the parties arrive at an agreement on parenting issues.
The FP’s job is to gather the parties’ financial information and help construct current and proposed budgets.
So, with all that being said, what is a Collaborative Divorce? It is a series of meetings in which the parties attempt to arrive at an agreement on all issues in their case, as opposed to going to court or mediation.
Before you go through a traditional divorce, you owe it to yourself to find out if Collaborative Divorce is right for you.