IS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE?
Collaborative Divorcesm is the name of a relatively
new out-of-court process for divorce which is growing in San Diego and
nationwide. You use a collaborative team of professionals and stay out
WHAT IS THE COLLABORATIVE TEAM?
Each spouse has their own Attorney and their own Coach (a mental health
professional). The Attorney informs and advises about legal issues and
writes or reviews the final Marital Settlement Agreement. The Coach handles
the issues of communication and emotional barriers that come up during
the divorce. In addition, the parties share a joint Financial Adviser,
who provides analysis and options in making their financial decisions
about the future. There is also a joint Child Specialist, who provides
child development information, insights and options regarding the parties’
possible parenting plans. Altogether, there are 6 professionals on the
team, all of whom are trained in the same Collaborative Divorcesm process,
and work together closely.
DOESN’T THIS GET EXPENSIVE?
Actually, because of the high level of teamwork and because the parties
never have to go to court, the cost is much less than a litigated divorce.
Reportedly, Collaborative Divorcesm averages around $14,000 for both parties
combined, whereas getting divorced in court typically costs an average
of $40,000 combined. Since there are no hearings, no papers have to be
prepared for court, little legal research is required, and hours of being
at court are saved. In addition, since the Coaches handle many of the
emotional and behavioral crises which arise during a divorce, the cost
for attorneys is significantly less. Having one Financial Specialist and
one Child Specialist saves the costs and controversy of having “dueling”
specialists at court.
HOW DO WE STAY OUT OF COURT?
Both spouses and all professionals sign a Stipulation for Collaborative
Divorcesm which states that you will handle the case completely out of
court. This Stipulation is filed at court. In the event that one or both
parties decide to drop out of Collaborative Divorce and go to court, then
all of the professionals must withdraw from the case and the parties have
to start over again with new attorneys, etc. This requirement encourages
the spouses and the professionals to work very hard at negotiating an
agreement on all issues, without giving up and going to court.
IS THIS BETTER THAN MEDIATION?
It depends on the particular circumstances of your divorce. Many people
can adequately handle their divorce in mediation. However, if you need
a substantial amount of legal advice and would prefer not to face the
other party alone in mediation, then Collaborative may be the preferred
approach. Also, there may be emotional issues which can be handled more
with the assistance of a team approach, and Collaborative Law emphasizes
practicing better communication about future parenting issues more than
mediation. When in doubt, consult with a Collaborative Attorney or Coach,
or try mediation first and see if it is sufficient for you.
WHAT IF I NEED COURT ORDERS?
In Collaborative you can negotiate and sign a stipulation for court orders.
If you cannot agree and need protective orders, you may need to go to
court instead of using the Collaborative process. However, the team is
often much more helpful than the adversarial court process.
CAN I PICK MY OWN TEAM?
Yes. You can choose your own Collaborative Attorney and Collaborative
Coach. You jointly select a Financial Specialist and Child Specialist
with your spouse. (Of course, your spouse gets to pick his/her own Attorney
and Coach.) In San Diego, there is a Collaborative Family Law Group which
includes about 50 Attorneys, Coaches, Financial Specialists, and Child
Specialists, all of whom have taken the Collaborative Divorcesm Training
and have been selected by their peers to be in the Group. To be most effective,
everyone in the Group only works on Collaborative cases with others in
the Group. Other cities may or may not have such a Group.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
If you are seeking Collaborative Divorcesm information in San Diego, go
to the website at www.collaborativefamilylawsandiego.com or call 1-888-837-9700.
If you are not in San Diego, or are a professional seeking information
or training, go to www.collaborativedivorce.com. To contact William Eddy
about Collaborative Divorces:619-232-9688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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