Who Can Benefit from a Collaborative Divorce
- You want a respectful, mutually acceptable out-of-court settlement of the issues arising out of your separation.
- You want to retain control over what happens with your separation. You want just enough professional help to result in a good separation agreement, without unnecessary expense, delay, steps, and detours.
How the Collaborative Process Works
- You and your spouse each retain a collaboratively trained lawyer.
- The lawyers might recommend the joint retainer of other professionals who can assist more efficiently and effectively with the particular issues that you need to sort out. For example:
- A Financial Professional can efficiently gather the financial information and generate options to allow you to discuss things like how to best divide property, what to do with the family home, and what your respective financial futures might look like.
- A Family Professional understands childhood development, can help you work out a parenting plan, helps improve communication, and can help navigate the emotional and mental health burdens of separation.
- Both spouses and the professional team (together, “The Team”) commit to respectful, constructive and timely communication and sharing of information and to using best efforts to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. There is a “Sticky Table” that keeps The Team talking: if either spouse wanted to withdraw from the collaborative process, there would be a cooling off period and both spouses would have to get new lawyers.
Why Collaborative Separation Works
- The professional team helps the spouses to identify their goals and the issues that need to be resolved.
- The professional team helps the spouses to effectively communicate about what is important and to reduce unnecessary negative communication.
- The Team generates a whole range of possible solutions for the family, and the professional team helps the spouses to evaluate the possible solutions against the goals that have been identified.
- If discussions go smoothly, and often they do, the Family Professional and Financial Professional will step back while the lawyers work with the spouses to paper an agreement.
- If discussions hit a rocky patch, often the Family Professional or the Financial Professional can be brought back in to help untangle things. You have a safety net if you need it, but the safety net can be on standby if it seems unnecessary.
- In a non-collaborative separation, things can get bogged down for a whole host of reasons that tend to get sorted out in the collaborative process. The professional team will help with:
- A healthy discussion about putting the children first and minimizing the children’s exposure to conflict.
- Safely tabling what each spouse wants and needs and where he or she might be prepared to compromise.
- Expanding the pie to create opportunities for win-win.
- Communicating about whether the process is moving too quickly or too slowly (often spouses have different perspectives on this) and getting to the bottom of how the timing can be adjusted and what supports can be put in place so that neither spouse feels threatened or disillusioned. (Both feelings can derail a settlement.)
- The Collaborative Process often creates opportunities for generosity, resulting in a more robust agreement and a better separated relationship for the spouses and children going forward.
Contact Pat Simpson to discuss if a collaborative separation could work for you.