What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Most people are unaware of any alternative to the time-consuming, expensive, and often exasperating process of divorce litigation. Even when well-intentioned lawyers are guiding the couple through the procedural thickets, frustration is substantial, and unhappiness often unavoidable.
Collaborative divorce is the result of the efforts of lawyers, mental health practitioners, financial professionals, and others who recognized the shortcomings of the traditional legal process for many families facing divorce and who wanted to work cooperatively to solve thorny divorce-related problems.
Collaborative divorce is a process that allows divorcing parties to focus all of their efforts and resources on settlement of their divorces, rather than on preparing for trial. Since the great majority of divorce cases are settled and not tried before a judge, many couples, as well as lawyers, would far prefer to proceed cooperatively, sharing relevant information, and negotiating in a collaborative spirit.
In a collaborative divorce, lawyers, mental health professionals, and the divorcing couple enter into a participation agreement, setting out the framework for a collaborative case. The agreement requires voluntary disclosure of financial information, a commitment to fair dealing, and a requirement that if the process fails to yield a settlement, both lawyers will withdraw from representation of the parties, and will not participate in any litigation.
Collaborative divorce only succeeds if the professionals involved are highly trained and experienced in this process. The unique qualifications of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal’s St. Louis family law attorneys allow us to offers this innovative alternative to a litigated divorce.
Alan E. Freed is a founding member of the Collaborative Family Law Association and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
Interviews with Alan E. Freed
The Metro Show – Collaborative Family Law
Today’s Issues – A Civilized Divorce
By: Alan Freed