What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce lawyers working on a case
September 15, 2021

Divorce is rarely problem-free. There are emotions to process and legalities to satisfy, and when children are involved things can get especially difficult. For as much as you probably don’t want to be involved in your soon-to-be-ex’s life, you’re still a devoted parent who wants only the best for their kids. Collaborative divorce can help bridge that gap.

Collaboration and Cooperation

Traditionally, divorce tends to follow a litigation model that drives a wedge and pits one party against the other. The process ends up being all about “winning.” But collaborative divorce does something different. It utilizes interest-based negotiation to help a couple settle their divorce outside of a courtroom. 

The focus is shifted toward building an amicable relationship. Both parents have their children’s interests at heart, and collaborative divorce allows them to be more productive and positive as they work on troubleshooting and problem-solving. 

One key reason for parents to seek a collaborative divorce is that they will receive expert assistance in managing the various aspects of parenting while divorced, from custody to a custom-built visitation schedule. Any necessary professional – from financial neutrals to child specialists – can be included at the table for less cost than each side retaining their own experts.  That said, collaborative divorce isn’t just meant for parents with minor children.

Who Can Seek Collaborative Divorce?

The core of this alternative approach is a sense of collaboration for the betterment of the family, so most couples who seek collaborative divorce will be parents and possibly even grandparents. Whether you have important family events and milestones in mind, or are concerned about a fair division of assets, collaborative divorce helps you maintain a cordial relationship. It’s then easier for both of you to remain involved in loved ones’ lives.

Couples without children can also seek mediation and collaborative divorce. The resources available differ from traditional negotiations and may suit your needs and lifestyle better.

The Collaborative Divorce Process

Whether collaborative divorce is a personal decision or a court-mandated or recommended route, both parties need to be willing in order to reach the most successful outcome. Once you’ve both agreed, you’ll need sound advice and direction from specially trained legal counsel. Both of you and your attorneys will also need to sign a “no court” agreement. Should things change and the matter end up in court, your collaborative divorce attorney will not be able to represent you.

Open communication is vital and will contribute to an agreeable resolution. So be upfront and honest with your attorney and clearly lay out both what you hope to achieve and what you’ll accept if compromise is necessary. When your collaborative divorce lawyer has a comprehensive view of your situation they can better represent you during regular meetings with your spouse and their attorney.

Pros and Cons of Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce can help couples make reasonable and measured decisions, putting family over hurt feelings. That said, there are a few risks in addition to the many plus points.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce:

  • Negotiation can be mostly done virtually and is a private process
  • In-person negotiations and information sharing are often informal and in relaxed settings
  • Negotiations always involve both parties and lawyers
  • Collaborative divorce lawyers and divorcing parties share the goal of working together
  • Divorcing parties – not courts – control the pacing
  • Without the imminent threat of litigation, stress is lowered and finances are protected
  • Third party professionals can offer expertise and advice to further the collaborative process
  • The focus of negotiations and resolutions remains firmly centered on your family’s needs

Risks of Collaborative Divorce:

  • Either side has the right to unilaterally opt out, terminate the collaborative process, and turn to litigation
  • Should the collaborative process end prematurely, lawyers cannot represent their clients in court 
  • Investment in the process – financially or otherwise – could cause parties to feel compelled to settle

Clearly, there’s a lot to work through before opting to go the collaborative divorce route. For seasoned advice and measured counsel, CLS Law is ready to help.

Collaborative Divorce Lawyer in Cleveland Ohio

Divorce brings up numerous issues that can be very complex in nature – it’s a hard path to navigate. But with a collaborative divorce lawyer on your side, you can reach agreements with less strife and in a way that helps you to focus on what really matters. At the Law Offices Of Cara L. Santosuosso, LLC, we know the value of communication and collaboration, and we can see your divorce through without resorting to litigation. Get in touch today to chart a course to resolution – we’re ready to help.