- Spouses select collaborative team. The spouses and the collaborative team meet to execute collaborative agreement and answer any preliminary questions and address immediate concerns.
- Spouses meet separately with Coaches until they are ready for a joint meetings.
- Meanwhile, spouses gather financial and budget data and have initial meeting(s) with the Financial Specialist. Spouses and the Financial Specialist jointly determine what additional information and meetings are appropriate to develop financial options.
- If there are minor children, the Child Specialist meets with them and determines whether other meetings are advisable (e.g., meetings with therapists, teachers, school counselors)
- Spouses have joint meeting(s) with Coaches present to discuss wants, needs, etc., and to listen to each other. The spouses begin working on a parenting plan and solutions to other issues.
- Spouses receive reports from the Financial Specialist and Child Specialist.
- Spouses meet with Attorneys. Coaches, Financial Specialist, and Child Specialist are present as needed. The goal is to settle issues concerning custody, child support, spousal support, division of marital property, etc. Attorneys draft legal pleadings setting forth the parties’ settlement of issues. As documents are approved by the parties, pleadings are filed in court, and judgments/orders are entered by the court.
- Parties implement settlements and plans. The collaborative team remains available if and when needed for follow-up support and ongoing problem solving.
ADVANTAGES OF COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE VS. ADVERSARIAL DIVORCE
- consumes fewer financial resources; preserves assets for more important uses
- lowers conflict and anxiety; seeks rational outcomes
- allows the spouses to retain ownership of the process and make their own decisions
- preserves future co-parenting relationship
- seeks to protect children immediately and over the long run
- involves less time; time not wasted on court appearances, discovery, etc.
- greater transparency and flexibility
- preserves civility and integrity
* This case flow is for illustrative purposes. The flow in any particular case may be different than shown here.
If parties collaborate effectively and provide data efficiently, a collaborative divorce case should take one year or less to complete. Overall costs vary, depending primarily upon the time necessary to reach and implement settlements on all the issues in a particular collaborative case.
Copyright Laurence M. Hamric, J.D., M.Div. – Used by Permission