What is collaborative divorce?
The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals provides the following answer:
Collaborative Divorce is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation.
In Collaborative Divorce:
1. The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter;
2. The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided;
3. The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement;
4. Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
5. The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding; and
6. The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.
Collaborative Divorce provides you and your spouse or partner with the support and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce allows you the benefit of coaches, child and financial specialists all working together with you on your team.
In Collaborative Divorce, core elements form your commitments to this process, which are to:
- Negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decide issues.
- Maintain open communication and information sharing.
- Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.
This segment from The Today Show reviews the collaborative divorce process from the view of the clients and attorneys:
Will Collaborative Divorce work for you?
Divorce or the ending of a long-term relationship is a sensitive and personal matter. No single approach is right for everyone. Many couples find Collaborative Divorce to be a welcome alternative to the often destructive, and sometimes very expensive aspects of court proceedings.
If the following values are important to you, Collaborative Divorce is likely to be a workable option for you:
- I want us to communicate with a tone of respect.
- I want to prioritize the needs of our children.
- My needs and those of my spouse/partner require equal consideration, and I will listen objectively.
- I believe that working creatively and cooperatively resolves issues.
- It is important to reach beyond today’s frustration and pain to plan for the future.
- I can behave ethically toward my spouse/partner.
- I choose to maintain control of the divorce/separation process with my spouse/partner, and not relegate it to the courts.
If this approach reflects your own thinking, I suggest you talk to a Collaborative Divorce lawyer about your own situation. A Collaborative professional can help you decide if Collaborative Divorce is the right alternative for you and your family.
To find a lawyer in your area who practices Collaborative Divorce, a good resource is Member Directory of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
In Knoxville, there is a select group of divorce lawyers who have received special training in Collaborative Divorce. You can find their profiles here. There are similar groups of Collaborative Divorce attorneys in Nashville and Memphis.
Information provided by K.O. Herston: Knoxville, Tennessee Divorce, Matrimonial and Family Law Attorney.