Collaborative Divorce is an Alternative to Litigation Divorce
There is an alternative for divorcing couples who would rather not let their divorce lead to litigation, but still would prefer to retain their own legal representation without going to court. Collaborative divorce is a process in which both spouses are represented by separate Collaborative Divorce attorneys. The attorneys still carry the traditional attorney-client relationship with their own client. Both parties agree to work out all issues and promise not to go to court or litigate. Some people prefer this non-combative approach that helps both parties reach a negotiated agreement that is fair, equitable, sustainable, and workable.
Concerns with Collaborative Divorce
Initially, people tend to be concerned that Collaborative Divorce may mean that their attorney will not serve as a strong advocate for them. However, this is not the case. It is a misconception that in the Collaborative process, all the work is done as a “team”. It is true; there is a certain degree of transparency in the Collaborative process. However, that does not mean that each client’s own collaborative attorney will fail to protect their individual interests and personal needs. Most of the work is done privately, in a separate Client-Attorney session in order to prepare all for the group collaborative sessions. That is when legal advice and case strategy is discussed.
Collaborative Lawyers and Educating Clients
Collaborative lawyers must consider educating their client a little about divorce law. Often, it is important to consider the existing outline of current laws, cases and judicial decision-making process and apply the potential resolution of a particular case to it. Simplified; what happens during another’s divorce case in the past is a road map for divorce in the future. That does not mean that it is a guaranteed outcome. For a collaborative lawyer to be able to give the client a private, personal, and confidential report, the attorney must analyze the facts of the case to the relevant law.
Collaborative Divorce and Finances
Finances are crucial in every divorce case. Collaborative attorneys are experienced in reviewing the numbers and finances to assist the client in the possibility of settlement. The Collaborative attorney also works with the client to understand what his or her finances will look like after the divorce.
Advice From a Collaborative Attorney
Advice from a Collaborative attorney comes in both legal and practical forms. Their advice goes beyond just the technical legal advice and comes from the attorney’s experience with how traditional litigated divorce issues have been dealt with. They can also provide a sympathetic ear while still maintaining rational and objective feedback regarding of the fears that a client may have.
Proposals Made During the Collaborative Process
Settlement proposals are made during the Collaborative process. As they are drafted, the clients and Collaborative lawyers must analyze the draft agreements. This work is typically done outside of the Collaborative group meetings, and in private with one on one sessions between each collaborative attorney and his or her client.
Other Ways Collaborative Attorneys are Helpful
Collaborative attorneys are helpful in other areas of the divorce. They help to gather all the documentation that is needed to reach a resolution, and they work with financial information, presenting and obtaining disclosure, and preparing court Financial Affidavits. They also negotiate, draft, edit, and finalize the Separation Agreement which becomes part of the final divorce judgment.