A collaborative divorce looks very different from other methods of ending your marriage. The purpose of collaborative divorce is to avoid litigation, so it should come as no surprise that the process looks different than a court trial.
Collaborative divorce is a method of alternative dispute resolution, along with mediation and arbitration. However, the process looks different from those methods as well. Here are two of the most salient features that set collaborative divorce apart from other proceedings.
As you prepare for a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse must choose team members to guide you through the process. Two of the most significant team members are attorneys representing you and your spouse. Not just any attorney will do; you each need one with training in the collaborative process.
According to Virginia Collaborative Professionals, other members of your team include financial specialists and collaborative coaches. Financial specialists are Certified Public Accountants or have similar credentials. They collect, organize and summarize your financial information to present in a neutral manner to you and your attorneys. Collaborative coaches have training as counselors and help you to improve communication with your spouse and manage your emotions.
If you and your spouse have children, a child specialist may also be part of the team. This is a professional who meets with the children and offers recommendations to you as parents for meeting their needs.
Collaborative participation agreement
Collaborative divorce requires a firm commitment to the process from all parties. You make this commitment by signing a collaborative participation agreement. This is a legally binding document in which you, your spouse and your respective attorneys agree that if the collaborative process does not work out and you have to go to court, you will hire new legal representation.