The collaborative process enables couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with their lawyers and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of litigation.
The collaborative process transforms your relationship from married partners to co-parents, allies, and possibly friends. The process, while not ignoring the law, is need based, not position based. Put another way, the collaborative process will create a settlement specifically tailored to the needs of your individual family.
The voluntary process is initiated when the couple signs a contract (a “participation agreement”) binding each other to the process and disqualifying their respective lawyer’s right to represent either one in any future family-related litigation.
A mental health professional and a financial specialist are also frequently involved. The process thus involves a “team” that will focus on the family and any unique circumstances. Because of the transparent “team” approach, brainstorming ideas for settlement are the norm, not brinkmanship. And although any divorce will be painful, the escalation and stress of litigation is zero. This leaves people room to breathe and focus on the best interests of their family.
Collaborative law process has the added benefit of being cost efficient for the involved parties. As the necessary tasks in the collaborative model are assigned to specialist professionals without duplication of effort, cost savings are realized.
I strongly recommend the collaborative process if you have children. Litigation destroys families. The collaborative process, on the other hand, preserves and fosters the relationships within the family. I am specially trained in Collaborative Law. I am a member of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan, and the Collaborative Divorce Professionals of West Michigan. Visit our website here.