Collaborative Divorce is a process in which both parties and their attorneys commit to resolving a conflict using a cooperative rather than adversarial approach. An alternative form of dispute resolution, this allows the parties to avoid going to court to have a judge decide the issue. Instead, collaborative divorce relies on the commitment of the parties and their attorneys to exercise honesty, cooperation, professionalism, and integrity in working toward the future well-being of both parties and, if there are children involved, the family. Non-adversarial participation allows the attorneys to use analysis and reasoning to solve problems, generate solutions, and create a positive context for settlement.
In a collaborative divorce, the parties are each represented by their own legal counsel who takes an active participatory role. Each attorney agrees that if the collaborative process fails to bring a resolution, the attorney will not represent the client in an adversarial proceeding. The parties are therefore committed to the success of the process, without the prospect of going to trial as a “fallback” position. The process is privileged and confidential, and communications during the process cannot later be used at trial, thereby encouraging the parties to be candid with each other.
The huge benefit to a collaborative divorce is that it can help resolve underlining issues between the parties so that after the divorce the parties are on good terms and are able to communicate and co-parent with each other. This is alternative to “scorched earth” litigation which at the end of the divorce process the parties have even more animosity towards each other.
Collaborative divorce is not for everyone nor is it a good fit for every case. However, it is something you should consider and discuss with your attorney. Only certain attorneys are trained in collaborative divorce so make sure your attorney has been trained in the collaborative process. Christopher L. Arrington has been trained and is knowledgeable about the process.