A BETTER WAY
...how collaborative practice works
Collaborative Practice provides a safe and protected environment for you and your spouse because of the commitment to work together to achieve an agreement. You and your spouse keep control of the decisions yourselves, rather than giving it up to a judge. All collaborative professionals and the parties consent in writing to be part of a respectful process that leads to an out-of-court resolution. Communication is confidential. Collaborative Professionals will help you to establish a structure for communication and the sharing of all information so as to promote constructive and positive discussions.
STEP ONE -- MEETING WITH A COLLABORATIVE PROFESSIONAL
Often this will be an individual meeting with a collaborative attorney but some individuals may begin the process by meeting with a coach or other collaborative professional. Some individuals may work only with attorneys and others may also work with coaches, a financial specialist, or a child specialist. These professionals will help you to identify your individual needs and the needs of your family. You will also sign a contract for services with each professional involved and review a participation agreement for the process.
STEP TWO -- FOUR-WAY MEETINGS WITH ATTORNEYS
Your collaborative attorney will arrange a "four-way" meeting with your spouse and his or her collaborative attorney. The participation agreement will be reviewed and signed at this meeting. Plans for future meetings are usually discussed and developed at the first meeting as well. There will likely be a number of four-way meetings in order to gather information; identify goals, needs and concerns; develop options; and finally make decisions for the entire family and each party.
STEP THREE -- MEETINGS WITH OTHER COLLABORATIVE PROFESSIONALS
It can be helpful for couples to work with other collaborative professionals such as divorce coaches, financial experts, or child specialists. These professionals can help you deal with the emotional and financial aspects of dissolving the marriage and its impact on you and your children. Individual and four-way meetings occur between the parties and their coaches to improve communication or discuss issues concerning their family. If appropriate, the parties may get assistance from a child specialist to develop their co-parenting arrangements. A financial specialist can help couples better understand their financial situation and assist them to develop financial options.
STEP FOUR -- FINALIZING THE AGREEMENT
Once a settlement is reached, an agreement and other documents are drafted by the attorneys and signed and submitted to the Court as a non-contested divorce.