In Collaborative Divorce, you and your spouse agree to be guided by a team of divorce professionals to create durable agreements out of court. You solve problems and restructure relationships. The team consists of two attorneys and two other neutral professionals, i.e., a financial analyst and a divorce coach. The goal is to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative financial, emotional and legal consequences of divorce to families and their communities. Collaborative divorce is voluntary and cooperative.
Elements of Collaborative Divorce
- Each of you has your own lawyer for support. We collaborative divorce lawyers work together for the good of each of you and of your family. We all commit to keeping open minds and using common courtesy. We explore ways to meet everyone’s needs in the short, middle and long term.
- We discuss legal concepts during joint meetings. Each of you gets the same information at the same time. You benefit from hearing from both lawyers directly. You and the lawyer for your partner talk to one another and vice versa. We treat one another well as we perform our joint task. You and your partner create durable out-of-court agreements. Your family transitions into new types of relationships.
- Your neutral financial analyst gathers your financial information. Then they prepare a report. They make sure everyone understands the information. They create scenarios which outline various property divisions. They project net worth in the future when requested. They add spousal support or child support to the scenario when needed.
- Your neutral divorce coach focuses on your emotions. They make sure each of you has an opportunity to speak and be heard. You make a commitment to communicate honestly and respectfully in your collaborative divorce. Your divorce coach helps you both express yourself and keep your commitment. They serve as process watchers.
- Often you and your partner are in different stages. One of you is ready for your new beginning. The other remains in shock about the ending. Additionally, our society has little tolerance for time-outs, grief or not knowing. You may be exhorted, “What is taking you so long? Get over them already! Move on!”
- My experience is that a collaborative divorce goes at the pace of the slowest hiker. Each of you may feel uncomfortable with the pace. It takes time for fog to clear and hearts to mend. When both minds and hearts reopen, you can negotiate durable out-of-court agreements. When you can take and give space to yourself and your partner, you can have a good divorce.
1. An Ending
2. A Time of Transition
3. A New Beginning
Why Choose Collaborative Divorce?
I charge $400 per hour. Collaborative Divorce typically takes much less time than litigation. I recommend adding a financial neutral and a divorce coach to your team. You work with these experts outside of full team sessions at their rates of $200-$250 per hour. Then you need fewer full team sessions. The financial neutral creates reports and scenarios. The divorce coach works with communication and co-parenting. Even though more people are present at full team sessions, you address your financial, emotional and legal needs.
Expert Collaborative Divorce professionals work together so that each spouse understands the financial, emotional and legal ramifications of the decisions they’re making. Both Collaborative Divorce lawyers give legal advice to both spouses at the same time in joint meetings, so both spouses can talk to both lawyers. Likewise, the financial neutral and the divorce coach talk to both spouses at the same time.
Court hearings are public however Collaborative Divorce sessions are private. Only the spouses and the Collaborative Divorce professionals know what transpired. If the Collaborative Divorce process terminates, both lawyers are disqualified from representing their client in an adversarial proceeding. There are also limits to confidentially, based on personal and public safety.
In Collaborative Divorce you are in charge of your own resolution. In court the judge is in charge of the outcome. Collaborative Divorce produces a result that is agreed to by both spouses and therefore more likely to be honored by them. Since you value self-determination, we make sure each of you gives informed consent to all agreements. If either of you gets overwhelmed during a session, you/we can ask for a break or to reschedule.
Collaborative Divorce professionals are highly trained and experienced in facilitating difficult and often emotional conversations. We bring calmness and empathy to our work. Our sacred task is to hold the whole family, see and hear each individual and encourage individuals to see and hear one another.
The timing and pacing of your Collaborative Divorce process is an issue to negotiate. Normally one person is ready to move forward while the other person needs more time. Our experience is that the hike goes at the pace of the slowest hiker. As far as scheduling goes, we often put sessions on our calendars and then decide closer to that date if that meeting is necessary. Collaborative Divorce can proceed efficiently and work with the parties’ individual schedules.
I very much appreciate the extra advice you gave me during my divorce, namely encouraging me to declare new visions for my life. I continue to affirm my visions and have added a few new ones. When I think about all that’s changed in my life and the ways in which I’ve grown, those statements were the start of it all. Thank you. My life is moving in a wonderful direction.Warm regards, Julie V.