There are many facets to a Collaborative Dissolution. The focus of the process is on the best interest of the family, not on any particular party. The discussions are team driven and needs based rather than positional bargaining looking for a winner or a loser. When a family is in the right place to have open and transparent talks about how to create their story after the divorce, the Collaborative Process can make a tremendous difference financially and emotionally.
A couple who chooses a collaborative path is able to rely on a professional team all focused on their best end. A collaborative team consists of two collaboratively trained attorneys each representing a party. The attorneys focus is on the legal aspects of the divorce. The team may also contain coaches, who are mental health professionals, who provide expertise in the emotional aspects surrounding the financial and family decisions the team will be reviewing. A financial neutral can help in gathering and processing a family’s financial information for talks on dividing property, child support or maintenance. The team concept allows the professionals to focus their skills on what they are best at: lawyers on the law, coaches on the emotions and the children, financials on the finances. It eliminates repetitive work and allows for efficiency and cost savings.
The parties are in control of the team. They control the timing of the process, the content of discussions and, as a result, the overall outcome. All members of the team, including the parties, sign a participation agreement, where they all agree to participate with full disclosure, openly and transparently. There are no court filings until the final agreements have all been reached, which avoids the threats and expense of court hearings and having decisions made by a Judge instead of the family. Should the parties be unable to reach final agreements and the process breaks down, they need to start over from scratch – all team members are disqualified from future representation in any litigation which allows the professionals to focus solely on the collaborative process.
As a contrast to a litigated divorce, it is very common for the parties in a Collaborative Dissolution to travel together to their court date to present their agreements to the court and get divorced. The process allows for the maximum potential to maintain a workable healthy relationship with each other and their children after the divorce is finished.
In the third edition of the Collaborative Resolution Project Podcast, Dr. Ken Celiano and Brad Pawlowski talk with Kathryn Engel about the various aspects of a Collaborative divorce.