Collaborative law is an alternative method for settling a divorce. Collaborative law is based on an agreement by both parties and their lawyers that they will not go to Court. Each party is represented by an attorney who provides legal advice and negotiation assistance.
All negotiations take place in "four party" meetings at which both lawyers and both parties are present. If an agreement is not able to be reached through the collaborative negotiation process, the collaborative attorneys withdraw from the case and different attorneys are hired for the litigation process.
The collaborative lawyers provide legal advice and assistance to the party they represent. This legal advice takes place separately from the negotiation. However, the negotiations all take place with both collaborative lawyers and both parties present. In addition, in the collaborative process there is usually a "coach" who is a psychological counselor who attends the negotiation sessions and who also meets with the parties individually and jointly to help with the communication between the parties and to assist with any emotional issues that arise. The coach is a neutral party who does not provide counseling to the parties, except as to issues relating to the negotiation of the settlement.
There may also be a neutral financial advisor who works with the parties on the financial issues and there may be a neutral advisor for issues on children such as parenting time and decision making. The job of these advisors is to help the parties and their attorneys with the financial or children issues in the case, including providing information to the parties, and assisting with the communication and exchange of information.
The advantages of collaborative divorce are the parties both agree to resolve the case by negotiation instead of having a judge decide the case. Both parties actively participate in all negotiation and settlement discussions. Assistance is provided by the attorneys and the neutral coach, financial advisor and/or advisor on children's issues.
Once an agreement is reached and signed by both parties, it is submitted to the court for approval by a judge. At this point the dissolution of marriage is entered by the judge and is final. For more information see www.divorcewisely.com. If you are interested in Collaborative Law, please let us know when you call the office.For more information or to make an initial appointment, call our office: (520) 885-9301.