Many believe that collaborative divorce is just another name for an uncontested, flat fee divorce. This is not the case.
The difference is stark. Some law firms may advertise a flat fee, uncontested divorce services where there are not many assets, no kids and where there is total agreement on all the terms. Generally, one party has an attorney and the other has no legal representation.
For many, this is just not a good option for them. They might have sizable assets that require difficult considerations, like tax concerns. They might disagree on child custody significantly. They might be in a dispute over child support or spousal support.
One party may also not be okay with not having an attorney representing them as well. They might also want legal representation to advise them of the pros and cons of any settlement.
In most cases, the parties may agree on some of the terms. But they may disagree on other items as well. A disagreement on even one item can hold up settlement. This is why a flat-fee, uncontested divorce is not always a simple answer.
Thus what is collaborative divorce? Collaborative divorce is a process through the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”). Attorneys obtain interdisciplinary to help clients through the collaborative process.
During a collaborative family law matter, each party has their own attorney. Collaborative professionals are also obtained to assist with difficult items. Specifically, a divorce coach, financial neutral and child custody professional can help navigate help emotions, finances and custody/visitation.
These professionals are present in private sessions where the parties work negotiate their case. They can help the parties reach an agreement on the items that have been the sticking points.
The goal of collaborative divorce is to help get win-win solutions outside of court on the items where the parties were previously unable to agree. Collaborative practice also ensures there is diligence being exercised to ensure a case is completed thoroughly.
For those who want to settle, but cannot agree on all the terms, collaborative practice is a good option to consider.