Collaborative divorce is a means to resolve a divorce case that is specifically non-adversarial. Prior to entering into collaborative divorce, the parties must cease any proceedings in the court. After such proceedings have been halted, both clients must seek a divorce attorney trained in Virginia collaborative divorce practice. Once each party has retained an attorney, a cooperative problem-solving approach is taken to resolve the divorce.
This process typically takes a number of meetings with the parties and their attorneys. When appropriate, third parties who can provide information and advice useful to the process join these meetings. Third parties may include:
- An accountant
- A financial planner
- A counselor
During the meetings, everyone involved works together to try and devise a comprehensive settlement agreement that is favorable to both parties.
Collaboration vs Mediation
Collaborative divorce does not have an adversarial component, while mediation generally does. In mediation, the two parties generally have opposing views on the issues, and must exchange proposals back-and-forth until a compromise is reached. During collaborative divorce, on the other hand, the parties work together toward a favorable resolution.
Another difference between mediation and collaboration is that, in mediation, certain things can be kept private when speaking with the mediator. However, in collaborative divorce, there really are no secrets. All information that is shared by one party is communicated to the other party. The purpose of this open communication is to allow both parties to work together toward a common goal.
Benefits of Collaboration
Collaborative divorce, like many other alternate means of resolution, allows the parties to have the ultimate control over their case. Additionally, the parties are able to work together toward a shared goal, rather than fight over competing interests. This allows the parties to share a sense of cooperation, despite any discord or disharmony between them. Both parties are able to walk away from the process with a resolution they have created together.
In Case of An Impasse
If the parties have tried collaborative divorce but are unable to come to an agreement, they may proceed with any other procedures for resolving their case. However, it is important to note that an attorney who represents a party in collaborative divorce cannot represent that in the future divorce proceedings. If two parties have entered into a collaborative divorce and have been unsuccessful in resolving all of the issues, then they will each need to seek new attorneys to represent them moving forward.
How An Attorney Can Help
Any person considering collaborative divorce should contact a lawyer who has been trained in this process. Such a lawyer can protect your rights by advising you through the process regarding the benefits and consequences of certain proposed resolutions. An attorney who can provide such insight is best-poised to determine whether or not a proposed solution is in his or her client’s best interest.