The Collaborative Divorce Process
At the beginning of the collaborative divorce process, both spouses meet with their respective attorneys to discuss their individual needs and concerns, but each agrees to resolve all issues – including property division, parenting allocation, and support – through the collaborative process.
Each spouse and their attorneys also sign a participation agreement, which requires both parties to:
- Exchange complete financial information so that each spouse can make well-informed decisions
- Maintain absolute confidentiality during the process, so that each spouse can feel free to express his or her needs and concerns,
- Reach written agreement on all issues and concerns outside of contested court proceedings
- Authorize the attorneys to use the written agreement to obtain a final court decree.
Once the agreement is signed the couple and their attorneys meet in four-way sessions to reach an out of court settlement. Each party benefits from the skills, advice, and support of the attorneys, and depending on the circumstances, other non-legal professionals such as mental health professionals and financial experts, who join the process to assist the couple in reaching resolutions to specific matters within their area of expertise. These professionals are also bound by the terms of the collaborative agreement.
When a settlement is reached, the attorneys file the appropriate paperwork required by the court to dissolve the marriage.