A growing number of divorcing couples are now opting for a new approach to ending their marriage called “collaborative divorce.” Instead of going to court, the couples work with teams of professionals, using communication and negotiation, instead of litigation, to navigate the divorce process.
The couples start by signing a contract agreeing to use the collaborative process, meaning both sides pledge to work on resolving all of their issues outside of the courtroom. Each spouse is assigned their own attorney and mental health professional to act as their coach during the process. A neutral financial advisor is also part of the team, as is a child specialist if there are children in the family.
The collaborative divorce team then proceeds to work together to resolve issues in a constructive manner — through communication and cooperation.
“It de-escalates the situation and helps [divorcing couples] to deconstruct the issues,” said Susan Noble, mental health professional. “We work with clients to enable them to deal with divorce by operating out of their best selves, rather than out of their anger or resentment.”
The collaborative divorce process emphasizes maintaining good relationships between parents and especially their children. Experts say it is not for everyone, but for some couples it is a better option than drawn out litigation that can take a financial and emotional toll.
The idea of collaborative divorce was born in the 1990s from a Minnesota attorney who believed that divorces where the attorneys worked together from the beginning benefited everyone involved much more than divorces that started out with litigation. Now, a growing number of professionals are being trained in the process.
“The collaborative process is a gift we can give to couples,” said CPA and financial specialist Germaine Vorhoff, a participant in and proponent of the process.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about traditional dissolution of marriage, divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The New Orleans Times Picayune, “Collaboration a new alternative to divorce court,” Renee Peck, April 23, 2012