Collaborative divorce is a process that allows spouses the opportunity to resolve their marital disputes without the threat of litigation. The overall tone of a collaborative divorce is respect and transparency.
To initiate the process, both parties must sign a written agreement reflecting their willingness to participate. That agreement will outline principles and guidelines that both parties must comply with in good faith. For example, the parties must give complete, full, honest and open disclosure of all relevant information with the goal of reaching a settlement of all issues. The key difference between the collaborative process and other alternative dispute resolution methods is that attorneys for both parties are required to withdraw should the collaborative process be unsuccessful. This requirement motivates parties to make a genuine effort to resolve their issues in the process to avoid obtaining new counsel.
After the parties and their attorneys sign the written agreement, they participate in face-to-face meetings that allow the parties to discuss their disputes directly with the assistance of their attorneys.
There are many other benefits to the collaborative process, such as:
- The focus is problem-solving instead of one spouse “winning” and the other spouse “losing.”
- The parties set the pace of the process as opposed to the pace being mandated by the court process.
- A voluntary disclosure of all information material to the resolution of the dispute. This allows the spouses to be on equal footing and promotes trust as they navigate the settlement process.
- An overall cooperative dynamic allowing spouses to communicate freely and honestly. This dynamic minimizes conflict and hostility.
- No public record is created from the process reflecting the parties’ settlement unless they choose to do so for the purpose of memorializing their settlement terms.
- Neutral specialists in finance or in child psychology may be called upon to help facilitate informed decision-making.
At Ellis Family Law, P.L.L.C., you will be represented by a collaboratively trained specialist who will provide guidance and support through the collaborative process from start to finish.
In addition to a collaborative divorce, there are other alternative dispute resolution methods available to resolve conflict, including mediation and arbitration.
Mediation: Mediation is a private discussion between the parties, which is facilitated by a trained mediator, in an effort to help the parties reach consensus on how to resolve their disputes.
Arbitration: Arbitration functions similarly to mediation, but if there are issues that the parties cannot agree upon, the arbitrator will decide privately on the resolution. Unlike court, this maintains privacy while still allowing for a decision on difficult issues.