What is a Collaborative Divorce?

A Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to the traditional combative divorce process that focuses on helping the divorcing couple and their family move beyond the divorce more productively and less painfully.

Why is Collaborative Divorce “less painful” than traditional divorce?

Collaborative Divorce uses a team based approach, where each couple has a collaboratively trained lawyer and the option of calling in other specialists, such as mental health counselors, child specialists and a neutral financial adviser to help the divorcing couple and their family come to mutual and respectful agreement.

In Collaborative Divorce, couples pledge to resolve their dispute outside the courtroom.

Collaborative Divorce focuses on minimizing conflicts so that the divorcing couple can move forward with their lives.

So are you essentially saying that courts and judges are bad?

No.  Courts and judges in Fairfax, Arlington, and throughout Northern Virginia certainly have important roles in most criminal and civil matters.  But Collaborative Divorce helps the couple move forward with their lives less painfully than a litigated divorce.

Collaborative Divorce puts decisions in the hands of the couple, fosters a safe, supportive environment, maintains privacy, and helps the couple come to mutual and respectful agreement.

How many Northern Virginia couples are using the collaborative process for their divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a major trend in the region.  Hundreds of families across Northern Virginia have used the collaborative process to resolve their disputes, and those numbers are growing.

How is Collaborative Divorce different from mediation?

Collaborative and mediation are both important alternatives to court-settled divorce.  However, Collaborative can be safer and more supportive than other divorce processes.  In Collaborative Divorce, each party retains its own lawyer, and both lawyers are always present during negotiations.  Collaborative offers the option to call on other specialists, including mental health counselors and a neutral financial planner.  Collaborative Divorce also requires full disclosure from both parties.

Isn’t Collaborative Divorce more expensive?

No.  In fact, it can be LESS expensive than traditional divorce, and is frequently a better value than other forms of divorce.

Collaborative Divorce is less painful than traditional divorce and helps the couple come to mutual and respectful agreement, and the agreement usually sticks.  Contrast that with litigation, in which the parties often keep returning to court over and over to refine or contest their agreement.

Wouldn’t it be better to help people avoid divorce entirely?

Of course.  In fact, collaboratively trained lawyers often recommend counseling and reconciliation to clients who are clearly not ready for divorce or who are on the fence.  But sometimes the differences are irreconcilable, and in those cases, Collaborative Divorce will be less painful than traditional divorce and will help those clients move forward with their lives.

Why isn’t Collaborative Divorce more well-known?

Actually, Collaborative Divorce is growing by leaps and bounds.  There are hundreds of family law attorneys, mental health specialists, divorce coaches and other specialists trained in Collaborative Divorce in the region.   More are being trained every year.

Is Collaborative Practice really a condemnation of traditional divorce?

No.  Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to the traditional combative divorce process that focuses on minimizing conflicts and helping the divorcing couple and their family move beyond the divorce more productively and less painfully.

Who is Collaborative Divorce appropriate for? 

Collaborative Divorce is appropriate for all separating couples and domestic partners who want a low conflict, less painful way to resolve their disputes and move forward with their lives.  It is appropriate for couples with children, couples without children, same sex couples– it is appropriate for all.

 

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