Collaborative law is an alternative to a lengthy, expensive, and adversarial litigation process. Couples, with the assistance of their attorneys (and sometimes other professionals), make joint decisions regarding the dissolution of their marriage. In order for the collaborative process to work, both the husband and wife must agree to work effectively together to reach goals that satisfy both parties. Trust is a key component to the success of the collaborative process and a “participation agreement” is usually completed by both parties. This process is not the best for every divorce as it requires trust between the parties.
Collaborative law gives ultimate responsibility of the results to the parties rather than to a judge or attorneys. The “team” of professionals who assist with the divorce can include, in addition to the attorneys, financial professionals, mental health professionals, and child specialists. Each professional has a specific role in the collaborative law process.
Since collaborative law is not an adversarial process, a lawyer’s role during a collaborative divorce is less of an advocate and more of a facilitator. When a couple really takes collaborative divorce seriously and really puts in a sincere effort, collaborative law has a very high success rate. Once all of the issues are decided and both parties are satisfied, the attorneys draft all necessary documents to finalize the divorce and make sure that all transfers of property, distributions of assets, and meetings with the parties’ children and/or the child specialist have taken place.
Another alternative to the collaborative divorce is for a couple to go through mediation together. Rincker Law, PLLC handles divorce mediation between couples. If retained as a mediator, Rincker Law, PLLC cannot represent either party in subsequent litigation if mediation is unsuccessful. It is unfortunate the divorce litigation is an expensive process for those involved so I encourage my readers to seek alternative dispute resolution processes.