Collaborative divorce is a relatively recent development in divorce practice, one brought about by an increasing demand for an alternative to traditional litigation for the resolution of divorce and family law disputes. Under this approach, the parties and their collaboratively-trained attorneys sign a contract which requires, among other things, full disclosure regarding assets, debts, and other issues pertaining to the divorce, as well as good faith attempts by the parties to work cooperatively and constructively towards agreement through a series of four-way settlement meetings. The requirement of full disclosure is considered a necessity for purposes of fostering cooperation and progress towards settlement. The collaborative contract also requires the parties to seek new attorneys in the event that the collaborative process fails to produce settlement and is instead followed by litigation.
The collaborative process can be especially useful for situations in which both parties are open to amicable, rational, and cooperative discussions with one another about issues which may include property distribution, custody and visitation, spousal support and child support. While each party need not agree with the position or perspective of the other party, both parties must be capable of listening to, understanding and appreciating that perspective. Generally a party or his or her spouse who enters the divorce process with a high level of anger, disrespect, or indifference regarding the other party’s behavior, circumstances, or wishes is not ideally suited for or best served by the collaborative approach.
Collaborative law is a unique area of the practice of law which requires specific training by attorneys seeking to represent clients in collaborative divorce situations. Steve Raynor has been trained and is experienced in the collaborative process. If you are considering a collaborative divorce, please contact Steve Raynor for further information.