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Quick Q&A: Collaborative Divorce

Question: “What is collaborative divorce?”

Collaborative divorce provides divorcing spouses the opportunity to negotiate a settlement with the assistance of his or her counsel without resorting to court proceedings. Parties participating in this process commit to full disclosure and transparent communications while pledging not to resort to litigation, which can and does occur in traditional divorce.

Professionals from other areas who are collaboratively trained are also available. This may include a mental health professional, called the “neutral coach” and/or a financial professional, called the “financial neutral.”

Question: “What’s the difference between collaborative divorce and mediation?”

In Collaborative divorce, all parties work together to reach a settlement and each party is represented by an attorney. In divorce mediation, the mediator does not represent either party. Instead, it is each spouse’s role to advocate for him or herself, subject to assistance by outside review counsel.

 Question: “What are the benefits of collaborative divorce?”

There are many benefits to collaborative divorce. This process allows clients to have substantial control over their divorce. It encourages creative solutions to issues presented in a divorce, solutions that may not be otherwise available in a traditional, litigated divorce. Settlements tend to focus more on the needs of each party, rather than his or her position. Collaborative divorce often reduces the stress and anxiety caused by a divorce, which is beneficial to both the parties and to any children they may have.

 Question: “What does collaborative divorce cost?”

It depends (sorry to use this answer again). Professionals involved bill at his or her hourly rate. Time often includes meetings with all parties, client meetings, discussions with counsel and other professionals, and the drafting and review of a formal separation agreement. One benefit of the Collaborative Divorce process is that it can be tailored to meet your specific goals, which can minimize the cost impact of your divorce.

Edward Bryan