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DIVORCE OPTIONS DEFINED

Traditional Litigation Process:

  • adversarial
  • formal court procedures
  • public hearings and trials
  • deadlines established by court’s rules and procedures
  • hearings and trials determined by court’s calendar
  • “win-lose” negotiations
  • uncontrolled costs
  • uncertain outcome
  • control surrendered to judge

THE NON-ADVERSARIAL APPROACH

  • good-faith cooperation
  • direct, efficient and timely discussions
  • mutual agreement
  • settlement outside of court

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE

  • cooperative
  • process tailored to needs of the family
  • private conferencing
  • clients decide pacing and timing
  • “win-win” solutions
  • controlled cost
  • collaborative outcome
  • clients keep control

COLLABORATIVE TEAM

  • interdisciplinary approach to separation and divorce (legal, financial, emotional, developmental)
  • attorneys–collaborative advisors, advocates and counselors at law
  • divorce coaches–supporters enhancing communication and negotiation skills
  • financial specialist–facilitators gathering information and exploring various options
  • child specialist–developmental experts assessing needs of children and educating parents

ADVANTAGES OF COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE

  • focused on finding solutions that work for everyone
  • respectful of the family’s core objectives
  • prioritizing needs of children
  • skilled and ethical attorneys serving as settlement specialists
  • client-based understanding and decision making
  • cooperative exchange of information
  • open communication
  • assistance from other professionals: financial, mental health and child specialists
  • private process free from threats of litigation
  • preparing family for their transition into the future.

COMMITMENTS FOR COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE

  • face-to-face discussions between spouses and attorneys
  • respectful, problem-solving approach despite disagreements
  • listening to spouse’s needs
  • expressing own needs
  • informed decision making
  • pledge in writing to focus on solutions, not threats of litigation

PROCESS FOR COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE

  • select attorneys trained in the collaborative process
  • commit to collaboration and agree not to go to court
  • determine scope of collaborative team (child specialist, divorce coach, financial expert)
  • meet privately with your professionals
  • meet together for face-to-face information sharing and negotiations
  • collaborate toward mutual problem solving
  • shape the final agreement
  • conclude settlement
  • file necessary paperwork

THE PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT

The Collaborative Process is built on the commitment to finding solutions that work for everyone, including the children, without the threat of litigation. To that end, attorneys and clients agree from the outset that if either party chooses to terminate collaboration and commence litigation, the professionals working toward solutions will resign from the case. This unique attorney-client relationship motivates everyone to devote time, money and energy into finding solutions, instead of worrying about litigation strategies, maneuvering and games.


FINDING ANOTHER COLLABORATIVE ATTORNEY FOR YOUR SPOUSE

  • Suggest that your spouse learn more about Collaborative Divorce by visiting this website.
  • Ask for a recommendation from your collaborative attorney.
  • Find professionals in your area by using the search tool available from the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan website at www.CollaborativePracticeMI.com

RED FLAGS

The collaborative process may not be appropriate in cases of:

  • domestic violence
  • drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • mental and emotional disorders
  • If you have concerns about the appropriateness of collaborative divorce in your situation, discuss those concerns with a Collaborative Professional.

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