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Divorce Options: Is the Collaborative Process Right for You?

  When considering a divorce, there are many factors to consider in making such a big decision.  There are several possible approaches for couples entering into divorce proceedings. The "kitchen" table approach is when the parties are able to work everything out themselves without any outside assistance. Mediation allows the parties to try to reach an agreement with the help of a third party neutral who helps to facilitate an agreement between the parties without offering legal advice. The traditional divorce approach is where one or both individuals retain a family law attorney and the case proceeds through the court system. The newest approach to divorce is the collaborative law approach. The collaborative process is one in which the spouses, along with their collaboratively trained attorneys, adopt a teamwork approach and work towards a resolution of all outstanding issues through a series of team meetings.

The main concern of most couples considering undertaking the collaborative process is whether it is right for them. The American Bar Association published an article "An Orientation to the Divorce Processes, the Dispute Resolution Options Available to Clients, and the New Dispute-Resolution Option, Collaborative Law" which sets forth guidelines for couples looking at collaborative divorce to consider. According to the American Bar Association, the collaborative process could be a good option for you if some or all of the following is true for you: You want a civilized, respectful resolution of your issues. You would like to keep open the possibility of friendship with your partner down the road. You and your partner will be co-parenting children together and you want the best co-parenting relationship possible. You want to protect your children from the harm associated with litigated dispute resolution between parents. You and your partner have a circle of friends or extended family in common that you both want to remain connected to. You have ethical or spiritual beliefs that place a high value on taking personal responsibility or handling conflicts with integrity. 

You value privacy in your personal affairs and do not want details of your problems to be available in the public court records. You value control and autonomous decision making and do not want to hand over decisions about restructuring your financial and/or child-rearing arrangements to a stranger (i.e. a judge). You recognize the restricted range of outcomes and "rough justice" generally available in the public court system, and want a more creative and individualized range of choices available to you and your spouse or partner for resolving your issues. You place as much or more value on the relationships that will exist in your restructured family situation as you place on obtaining the maximum possible amount of money for yourself. You understand that conflict resolution with integrity involves not only achieving your own goals but finding a way to achieve the reasonable goals of the other person. You and your spouse will commit your intelligence and energy toward creative problem solving rather than toward recrimination or revenge -- fixing the problem rather than fixing the blame.

If any of the above applies to you, then the collaborative process may be a good option for you. To find out more about the collaborative process and whether it may be right for you, contact the collaboratively trained attorneys at McMorrow Law LLC today at 724-940-0100.

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