Many divorces take too long and cost too much. Isn’t this the lament of so many people…the divorce dragged on, the lawyers fought over everything, the court status hearings were much ado about nothing?
For divorcing couples, one way to achieve a divorce without the acrimony, the time, and the cost is the collaborative divorce. The Law Offices of Michael F. Roe practices and recommends collaborative divorce. What is collaborative divorce?
The Nuts and Bolts
Each party is represented by a specially trained collaborative lawyer.
These two collaborative lawyers are bound by the same professional ethical mandates that all lawyers must honor.
The lawyers are retained pursuant to a “limited purpose retention.” The sole purpose for which the lawyers are hired is to help their clients reach a reasonable, acceptable settlement of all issues, without litigating or threatening to litigate.
The clients retain their right to terminate the collaborative divorce process and to take their issues to court, but the collaborative lawyers and other collaborative professionals cannot go with them.
Information is shared fully and freely, on request. Hence, suspicion and paranoia drop dramatically from what is normally experienced in litigation.
All negotiations take place directly, face to face, in “fourway” settlement meetings. The lawyers do not bargain as agents in the absence of their clients. Interest-based negotiations are the preferred mode, not positional bargaining.
In addition to a collaborative lawyer, each party is encouraged to have a divorce coach to help the party constructively articulate emotions and key issues.
Instead of being kept in the dark and out of the loop, the clients’ children have a voice as well. When couples choose a fully-staffed interdisciplinary collaborative divorce team, a neutral child development specialist is included. This professional listens to the children’s chief concerns and helps the family to address them in a separate meeting with the coaches.
Finally, a neutral financial consultant helps parties and lawyers gather the financial data, analyzes the family resources, and helps the couple to understand the size of the pie, offering creative solutions for consideration that can be far beyond a court’s power to order.Plus there are no hidden finances or surprises and as a result many couples under stand their money situation better than before. Instead of playing the litigation game of “hide the ball,” this consultant ensures that all financial questions are answered and all necessary information is brought to the table so that sound solutions can be devised. With the financial consultant’s help, many couples do not just reach divorce agreements-they also understand their money situation far better than ever before.
These professional helpers all work together to help a couple focus not just on reaching a “quick fix” settlement agreement, but on laying a foundation for optimum communications and problem solving during the period of rapid changes a couple can expect after the legal divorce judgment has been entered. They remain available as needed to help couples adjust their parenting plans in light of actual experience during the months and even years following entry of judgment.
Text above credit from an article by Pauline Tesler