Collaborative divorce describes a process that focuses on a reasoned negotiated agreement between two spouses. The root of their agreement is to end their marriage. No blame, no fault is assessed, both parties understand that the marriage they once shared has sadly come to an end.
This method of divorce de-emphasizes the adversarial process inherent in litigation. Formal discovery -the use of depositions, interrogatories, and requests to admit- is forgone in favor of an informal exchange of information. There is a certain level of trust that must be maintained when the collaborative divorce process is used.
All divorces, by their nature, involve a certain level of stress. The chief principle behind the collaborative model is to focus on negotiation and reaching agreement on all the major issues present in your case. Then instructing a divorce lawyer to draft a settlement agreement or consent judgment for use in the family court.
Often, this model features a single lawyer, sometimes referred to as a divorce “coach”. This professional is not an advocate for either spouse. The divorce collaborator or coach has the spouses sign a retainer agreement the spells out the collaborative divorce method. In the event that the parties cannot come to an ultimate agreement that each can sign, then the collaborator withdraws from the process and each spouse is free to hire their own counsel.
In other variations on this theme, the collaborative divorce process can be used with each spouse retaining their own lawyer. If the spouses are in agreement to emphasize collaboration over the adversarial process, then -hopefully- the lawyers will take their lead. To some extent, however, this will depend on the personality and the professional DNA of the lawyer(s). Some attorneys simply cannot help themselves and are adversarial to their core. The collaborative divorce process is foreign to their perception of how things should be done.
In the collaborative divorce model, the actual court paperwork and the formal proceedings in family court are insignificant; practically an afterthought. This is divorce without the drama. The divorce lawyers at Clarkston Legal are trained to work within the collaborative divorce model. For a free initial consultation, contact our office to schedule an appointment and plan to bring your spouse.