For those who are interesting in settling a divorce or family law matter outside of court through the collaborative process, they want a roadmap. They want to know how the process works.
While every case can work a little bit different, there is a general order in which these cases progress and resolve. The process is one that is established by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”).
Below is the roadmap:
1.) Both parties must hire a lawyer trained in collaborative practice. The representation is on a limited scope representation. This means that the if the parties decide to litigate, they have to hire new litigation counsel.
2.) Both sign a participation agreement. A participation agreement ensures that the parties are going to engage in collaborative practice for their divorce or family law matter through the standards set forth by the IACP.
3.) The parties have to decide who else will be enlisted on the collaborative team. For example, the parties have to decide whether to use one or two divorce coaches. They also need to decide whether to use a mental health and finance professional.
4.) Settlement meetings need to take place to try to resolve the divorce or family law matter. The number of meetings, team members present and substance discussed at the meetings will vary based on the case particulars.
5.) Once the case settles, settlement documents are drafted to put the agreement into writing. The parties and the attorneys will both need to sign the settlement agreement.
6.) The settlement paperwork is presented to the family court judge either by affidavit or at a noncontested hearing. The judge will ultimately have to approve the settlement. Assuming the agreement is not so one-sided that it is unconscionable, family court judges will typically approve settlement agreements.
If you are going though a divorce or family law matter, and interested in a collaborative resolution, the Missouri Collaborative Institute can help. You can contact us online or give us a call.