Collaborative Divorce is Intentional & Open
Collaborative divorce does not simply mean “we’ll work it out together.” Crossing you fingers and wishing this would go amicably. Collaborative divorce brings legal certainty and commitment to that good-spirited aspiration. It leads with fairness and facts. It puts your kids first. It looks at your family and financial situation with a level of expertise and depth that a typical court process would skim over.
This is a very specific legal process and type of divorce resolution. You and your ex mutually agree to sign a contract that says you will not go to court. Instead, you resolve to deal with this in a collaborative way by engaging a team of professionals and experts.
Your attorneys, financial representatives, child specialists, and others will all be talking to each other. It’s an open and intentional process focused on fair agreements. If Gwyneth Paltrow had attorney chops, she might call it “conscious uncoupling on a legal paradigm.”
This can be less expensive and less time-consuming than going to court. This a more private and emotionally easier way to make it through your divorce. Importantly, this puts you and your ex-partner in control of the settlement instead of a judge who will only know you for a few hours.
It might sound counter intuitive, but a collaborative divorce is not for the faint of heart. Committing to set your emotional wounds aside and put your child’s needs first is not easy. If you are contemplating a collaborative law divorce, it is helpful to know a little more about the process.
At the start of the process, the couple agrees to some basic ground rules like these:
- I agree to proceed in “Good Faith”. Good faith means to abide by the rules of common courtesy, keep an open mind, be willing to explore options without holding a fixed position, and share all pertinent information.
- I agree to voice any concerns or questions about the overall process, direction, or any interactions amongst the Participants.
- I agree to convert complaints into neutral requests to the best of my ability, and to refrain from blaming and negative assumptions based on the past behavior of my partner.
- I agree to work productively in the “here and now” keeping everyone’s future well being in mind.
Then, the couple signs a binding contract committing to the collaborative process. As part of the agreement, the couple agrees to share and disclose all information freely. The couple commits to stay out of court and work together. They also agree to hire new counsel if the collaborative process fails because if either party chooses to stop the collaborative process, the lawyers who participated in the process are legally forbidden from further representing their clients.
Over a period of time, the couple works out divorce arrangements over child custody, property division and other critical legal matters. The collaborative law process usually includes help from experts – a financial specialist, a child custody specialist, and a divorce coach. Depending on your case, we may also work with other experts who help parents reach sound decisions.
The ultimate goal is for the couple to establish a legally binding agreement that best serves the needs of all parties.
Collaborative law offers divorcing couples a child-centered, respectful and efficient means of resolving divorce disputes. Collaborative law offers couples the advantage of heightened privacy and control over the process. The goal of collaborative law is to help couples make decisions about divorce, child custody and other family law issues. You create the future you want for your post-divorce family and for your children.
At DuBois Levias Law Group, we enjoy engaging with our clients in the collaborative law process for divorce, custody, and family law issues. DuBois Levias Partners, Amanda DuBois and Lucia Ramirez Levias, offer collaborative family law services and are both members of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Lucia is also a member of King County Collaborative Law.
Case Concerns: Collaborative Is Not For Everyone
If one partner doesn’t cooperate or compromise, this will never work. That’s especially true if there’s a history of domestic abuse, drug addiction, or mental illness like narcissism. Everyone involved needs to be trustworthy and honest. One bad team member can quickly derail a collaborative divorce.