What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a relatively new form of divorce resolution that, although not widely practiced, is gaining a foothold in Connecticut. Both spouses are represented by a collaborative divorce attorney in the traditional attorney-client relationship, meaning that each spouse is represented by their own attorney in the divorce. The difference however, is that in a collaborative divorce, both parties agree to work out all issues and promise not to go to court or litigate. With this non-combative approach, both clients and counsel are compelled to seek a negotiated agreement that is fair, equitable and because it is obtained through negotiation, it is a sustainable and workable agreement.
The key elements of Collaborative Divorce are as follows:
- A shared commitment to resolve all issues between spouses and the family;
- The voluntary and free exchange of any and all information needed to negotiate and make informed decisions;
- A pledge not to litigate or go to Court. – Should either party initiate litigation in spite of this pledge, both attorneys and all additional professionals will withdraw from the collaborative divorce team. None of the work product derived in the collaborative divorce process can be used in subsequent litigation, without express and mutual consent of all parties.
The collaborative divorce process is based on a commitment; perhaps the last commitment of the marriage. In collaborative divorce, you commit to negotiate in good faith and reach creative settlements that address the needs of each parent and the children. The collaborative divorce process is in direct contrast to traditional litigious divorce and child custody proceedings. The collaborative law process provides the right tool for the problem, the needed resources and professional assistance required, in a structured, constructive environment to achieve effective, comprehensive, personalized outcomes for families in transition. All decisions are reached jointly and voluntarily. Family matters can remain private. Those of us who practice collaborative divorce and family law believe that one day collaborative divorce will become the new norm of divorce in USA.
How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?
- After you and your spouse each hire an attorney, everyone agrees in writing not to go to court or litigate.
- You meet privately with your attorney and then in face-to-face meetings with your spouse and their attorney (also known as four way meetings).
- Additional experts, such as divorce coaches and child and financial specialists, may join the process if needed or are called for by your circumstances. All meetings are intended to produce an honest exchange of information and a clear understanding about the needs and expectations of both parties.
- The divorce agreement derived during the four way meetings, also called Separation Agreement, will ultimately be made an order of the Connecticut Court.
Visit our Collaborative Divorce FAQ to learn more about the team members involved in a collaborative divorce.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce Process in Connecticut
- Collaborative divorce allows former spouses to be friends and colleagues afterwards, rather than enemies who have been adversaries at a war.
- Each parties counsel is incentivized to help clients come to terms, because if it litigates, counsel and members of their firms cannot continue to represent the clients.
- The collaborative divorce process enables clients to create results that they would not normally be able to obtain in the traditional court setting.
- The spouses retain control of the outcome.
- During the collaborative divorce the parties save time, emotions, and finances.
- Each spouse receives independent legal advice from their own collaborative divorce attorneys
- The parties can control the timing of the process and are not at the mercy of the court’s schedule.
- Collaborative divorce costs less than traditional litigation in Connecticut because spouses have control of the timing and outcome.
- Collaborative divorce assists in fully identifying and fulfilling the needs of the children. The children’s welfare and well-being becomes the primary focus.
- Every family unit has it’s own finger print and consequently is unique and different. Spouses can craft the agreements that are unique to their situation and serves the needs for each child and spouse.
- The spouses can take time to reach informed long lasting decisions and are not under time pressure.
- Parents learn and practice open communication, self-management and negotiation skills that can form the basis for successful future interactions.
- Through collaboration, parents learn to manage and reduce conflict and the anguish and divided loyalties it engenders in children.
- Parents have the opportunity to lay the foundation for the respectful, cooperative parenting of their children.
- Parents make it possible for their children to make a healthy adjustment to the divorce and any changes that come later.
Why Collaborative Divorce Costs Less
Unlike divorce mediation and arbitration, collaborative divorce provides clients with legal advocates trained in collaborative family law without the expense of each spouse hiring or retaining their own experts and without the high cost of trials and litigation. A divorce handled in a Connecticut court that utilizes individual experts and numerous hearings over several months will be more expensive than a collaborative divorce. It is not unusual for each spouse in a litigated divorce to spend more than $25,000 because the costs of experts and litigation fees add up. In contrast, in a collaborative divorce, neutral experts can provide a deeper level of understanding and different options for both parties. A collaborative parenting specialist or communication coach can also be part of the team. They can offer parents guidance and constructive approaches on how to communicate effectively about difficult parenting issues.
In the team approach to collaborative divorce, the divorcing spouses can utilize specific professionals to resolve road blocks, therefore avoiding needless litigation and expert fees that can be incurred by each spouse separately. Using the right tool for the job makes the collaborative divorce efficient, cost effective, and addresses the needs of the children and each spouse.
Why Choose CT Mediation Center for Collaborative Divorce
CT Mediation Center is the premier collaborative divorce law firm in Connecticut. We focus only on amicable, peaceful divorces. Our attorneys and mediators work with couples who are committed to approaching the end of their marriage with integrity and reason; people who would rather spend their energy and resources working constructively to resolve their differences rather than “winning the fight.”
At CT Mediation Center, we have years of experience in collaborative divorce and all financial aspects of divorce. We have extensive training and experience in parenting coordination and handling the financial aspects of divorce. We utilize the same software as the CT Court and we focus our entire legal practice in collaborative family law and divorce mediation. We ONLY practice constructive divorce. Our specialized training, practical and professional experience will help you and your changing family create a new beginning without the emotional and financial cost of litigation.
The lawyers at CT Mediation Center have successfully handled hundreds of collaborative divorce cases many of which include complex financial matters, division of business assets, and high net worth cases. If you have any questions or would like a free consultation call our office at (860)986-1141 or fill out the contact form today.