Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Collaborative Divorce - options


A Non-Adversarial Option


A new non-adversarial divorce process is sweeping the country. This new paradigm is known as collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is a process involving family law attorneys, mental health professionals and financial specialists, all working together cooperatively to bring about a solution that is fair, just and equitable for all family members.

Collaborative divorce is an out-of-court process that assists husbands and wives to dissolve their marriage in a compassionate, practical and informed way, while proceeding at their own pace - not based on the court’s schedule.

Collaborative divorce is a process that supports the entire family and provides for a smooth transition for all family members.

The collaborative divorce method puts together a professional team for each couple who agree to use the process. Just as in the traditional adversarial process, both husband and wife choose an attorney to represent them; however, these attorneys have been specially-trained in the collaborative process. Joining the team are two or three mental health professionals, one of whom is retained by each spouse as their coach, and one who is hired as the child specialist - serving as the voice of the children. Rounding off the team (if needed) is the financial specialist, who is a certified financial planner, or in some cases a certified public accountant. The attorneys, mental health professionals and financial specialists have received specialized training in the collaborative divorce process.

In the traditional adversarial method, many parents use the process as a therapeutic tool to heal or sooth their pain, to justify their actions, or to seek vindication for the perceived “wrong” of the other parent, all of which become powerful emotional weapons to be used to “win at all costs” - and cost it does, a lot, both emotionally and financially.

In the collaborative process, instead of paying their attorneys to conduct research, discovery and trial preparation to “battle” the other spouse, the parties spend their money on resolving the issues constructively and fairly with the cooperative assistance of their attorneys and other team members. The team is not only committed to keep the parties out of court, they are also there to help the husband and wife transition their marriage into two households in a peaceful, intelligent and restorative manner. Therefore, rather than spending the parties’ resources in numerous court appearances, which have the potential to embitter spouses to exaggerate and exacerbate their differences, the collaborative approach is much less expensive and much less stressful.

The inclusion of the education and information team approach promotes positive healing for all family members, which provides the parties with the opportunity to make the most informed and creative decisions regarding their children. It allows the parties to make intelligent informed decisions regarding the division of their property and the distribution of future support, which will affect the financial future of all family members.

Collaborative divorce is a process which puts the parties directly in charge of their own affairs, a process not typically available under the traditional adversarial method. The adversarial process pits the two attorneys against each other. Then the judge, with no prior knowledge of the family or family dynamics, will make a decision which will affect the entire family for the rest of their lives.

In the collaborative model, power and control is maintained by the family, benefitting all family members by taking into account the uniqueness of each family member.

BY: Marvin Chapman & Dedicated Fathers
Marvin Chapman is a Certified Collaborative Divorce Coach

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1 comment:

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