Now that 2010 has arrived people who have been considering filing for divorce are starting to take action. Once the decision is made to file for divorce, an important decision must also be made as to how the divorce will be conducted.
Are you looking for a high cost, high conflict divorce? Well, these kinds of divorces are easy to engineer. They require anger, retribution, and a desire to burn through money without regard to future consequences.
Are you looking for a better, less costly, lower stress collaborative experience? Then consider an initial consultation with my office to discuss my approach to cooperative divorce and collaborative practice.
In cooperative and collaborative divorce practice, the traditional approach of bargaining from a specific position, backed by threats of litigation and court hearings, is replaced by an approach that settles cases mindfully, practically, and respectfully. The approach meets the needs of both parties and the children, and still involves legal counsel, but eliminates the threat or fear of high conflict court hearings at any stage.
This cooperative process is based on a process in which both parties and their attorneys agree that the attorneys will not go to court, except for the final prove up of the case. The key ingredient of cooperative divorce is that the negotiation between the parties takes place in four-way meetings where both parties and their attorneys are present.
The cooperative approach to divorce is based on three principles:
• An agreement not to go to court, except to obtain guidance from the judge (pretrial conferences) and to “prove up” the agreements at the end of the case.
• An open exchange of financial information by both spouses.
• A solution that takes into account the highest needs and priorities of each divorcing parent and the children.
The key element of this process is a commitment by the parties to work toward a negotiated settlement in a structured, non-adversarial setting that puts a premium on cooperation and cost savings, rather than resorting to high cost, high stress litigation.
Some cases need the court system. Cases involving domestic violence, dissipation of marital assets, and other emergency matters will require immediate court action and the intervention of the judge. My firm is very aggressive when court litigation is required. However, for many divorcing parents, the cooperative process is a cutting edge and cost saving approach to achieving personal parenting and financial goals, while at the same time preserving the emotional health of the parties and the children.