Collaborative Divorce: Focusing on a Mutual Solution

Your marriage may have failed, but a collaborative process can give you an opportunity to find a solution for your divorce. Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation, which can be costly, adversarial, and prolonged.  Key elements of collaborative divorce include:

  1. Reaching creative solutions which preserve the best interests of yourself and each member of your family;
  2. A commitment from you, your spouse, and your attorneys to reach resolution without the need for litigation;
  3. Trained professionals such as business appraisers, financial planners or child therapists working as a team and engaging in a process that is truly customized to meet the needs of your family. 

During the process, parties and their attorneys proceed together through a series of meetings and exchange information with an agreement to be respectful of one another and forthcoming with the information necessary for the process to move forward.  It’s important to note that if the parties do not reach an agreement through the collaborative process, they can still file a lawsuit in Court, but they must start with new attorneys. Additionally, information that is exchanged during the collaborative process is not admissible in court; thus, a commitment to the process is key in succeeding in with Collaborative Divorce.

Collaborative law has many advantages over family law litigation: 

  • You and your spouse control the timing of the process rather than a judge
  • Your children’s needs are considered at every step of the process
  • The cost of the collaborative process is more affordable and predictable than litigation
  • The process is private and voluntary rather than public and mandatory
  • Communication and cooperation between you and your spouse is encouraged rather than prohibited
  • You are able to make decisions in an environment that is safe and supportive
  • You and your spouse focus on a solution that works for both of you, not just one of you
  • The process considers not only the legal aspects of divorce, but also the emotional, financial, and practical aspects
  • When the process is over, you and your spouse are able to maintain a cordial and respectful relationship 

Attorneys providing this specialized service must be trained in this field to develop collaborative negotiation skills, and not all Family Law attorneys are qualified in the Collaborative Divorce process.  Attorney Sarah Miranda, a partner at Hutchens Law Firm, has been trained in the collaborative process and can provide a brochure and materials that will enable your spouse to locate and consult with another collaborative attorney in our area if this is a process that interests you and your spouse.