Collaborative law is an alternative method to the traditional divorce. If the parties so choose, they can stay out of the court room and amicably resolve their divorce issues through the Collaborative process.
Getting Started With Collaborative Divorce
If you and your spouse have thought about making the large and small decisions surrounding your divorce together, instead of handing that power over to the court, here is a free online questionnaire which may help you decide if the Collaborative Process is right for you. If you decide this is the right step for you, you will both need to retain a collaboratively trained and certified attorney. Jessica Smith and Alexis Miloszewski are both trained in collaborative divorce. Attorney Smith is a member of the Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania.
How Collaborative Divorce Works
Once the parties agree on their own to the collaborative process and have retained Collaborative Attorneys, the parties sign a participation agreement. The participation agreement sets some important ground rules, such as the parties’ agreement to keep the divorce out of court and the parties’ agreement to have a full and honest discussion about all issues involved in their divorce. Next, both attorneys meet together with the parties to facilitate an amicable discussion about the issues and concerns (such as distribution of assets, child custody, etc.) in the case. The attorneys will also advocate for their client’s interests in a constructive manner. Together with the attorneys, the parties negotiate and achieve a settlement, all without being in front of a divorce master or judge!
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative law offers some unique benefits that cannot be obtained in a traditional divorce. First, parties with children can feel great knowing they have set a wonderful example for how to reach a harmonious solution in a difficult dispute. Child custody arrangements are often negotiated through the collaborative process. Similarly, the parties evaluate their respective needs and decide upon an amount of child support and alimony without the involvement of Domestic Relations. Second, the parties, with the help of their collaboratively trained attorneys, remain in control throughout the entire process. They are not bound by the confines of the law. This removes any doubts relating to how issues will be resolved, a problem that can occur in a traditional divorce. Third, avoiding an adversarial approach to a divorce may foster better relations between the parties in the future. Here is an article by CPCP members Debra Denison Cantor and Ann V. Levin that further describes the benefits of a Collaborative divorce. If you have children and are considering divorce, we recommend that you consider the collaborative process, as it may lead to better co-parenting results in the future. Fourth, couples in a collaborative divorce have the option of working with other professionals. The CPCP group has collaboratively-trained mental health coaches and financial professionals who can assist in resolving all issues related to your divorce. Finally, the collaborative process can be more expeditious and cost-effective than a traditionally-litigated divorce.
If you think that a collaborative divorce would be a good fit for your family, contact us to discuss your concerns. For more information regarding the Collaborative process, feel free to sign up for the Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania Newsletter.