Private Client Services Update – Collaborative Divorce Process: Your Client Should Know This Alternative to Divorce Litigation
By Dale Truitt Berrett, Family Law, Estate, Trust & Wealth Transfer
Collaborative Practice offers couples ending their marriage a team of qualified and collaboratively trained professionals who work together to help them make decisions about the legal, financial, and emotional issues of divorce. Each spouse has his or her own attorney and divorce coach. The collaborative approach to divorce is based on three principles: a pledge not to go to court, an honest exchange of information by both spouses, and finally a solution that takes into account the highest priorities of both spouses and their children. The collaborative approach to divorce is unlike any of the traditional mediation and litigation models. Those options typically result in the parties leaving with anger towards each other, hurt feelings, distrust and poor communication. No tools have been gained to help them interact as they co-parent together. Collaboration is innovative and has great potential to transform the nature of the divorce process. Collaborative Practice Teams offer support to each spouse as the experts work together with their clients to find constructive solutions to the many issues of divorce and to establish meaningful goals for the future.
Each party has his or her own attorney to advise them on all matters of law: child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, retirement, property distribution, and the preparation of a final collaborative agreement. Divorce coaches help each client work through the emotional challenges and communication issues which interfere with how the clients work together in raising their children and dealing with the complexities of divorce. A neutral financial consultant reviews the family’s assets and liabilities helping to preserve the family’s marital estate while working with the couple in developing realistic financial choices for the future. A child specialist meets with the clients’ children and helps them talk about their feelings and concerns about the divorce. The child specialist informs the team of the children’s hopes and fears which are considered in planning their future lives, making the children “a priority, not a casualty.”
Moreover, the collaborative divorce process may provide an avenue for the professional to keep both spouses as clients because all parties work together, and even with the professional to separate the assets by agreement, even in difficult and high conflict situations.
If you would like more information on collaboration, please contact Dale Truitt Berrett.
The contents of this publication are intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts and circumstances. Copyright 2023.