Collaborative divorce is one of the newest methods for resolving your divorce and custody dispute. The way it works is that each party (you and your spouse) retain separate attorneys. Both you, your spouse, and each of your individual attorneys agree to work together to negotiate a settlement. You all agree that you will not litigate the case while you are working on reaching an agreement. The parties typically enter into a “Participation Agreement”. The Agreement sets out the basic parameters of how the parties and their attorneys will work together. The attorneys agree that if the case can not be worked out then the parties will have to hire new attorneys to litigate the matter.
“The “Participation Agreement” entered into by the parties, sets out the commitments in collaborative divorce. In most cases the Participation Agreement generally contains provisions such as:
* it is agreed that the outstanding issues will be settled in a non-adversarial manner using interest-based negotiation;
* the parties will rely on their lawyers to assist them in reaching the settlement;
* the parties will act in their children’s best interests to promote the relationships between the children and the parties and to minimize any emotional damage to the children as a result of the separation;
* all communications during the process will be constructive and fair, and will not take advantage of any errors made by the other party;
* neutral experts may be retained;
* the reasons and process for withdrawing from or ending the process;
* the status quo will be maintained in regards to the children and no unilateral changes will be made to assets, insurance coverages or other matters during the process without consent
The most important element of collaborative divorce is that the lawyers commit to manage the conflict, emotional issues and relationship issues creatively.
The parties and their lawyers engage in four-way meetings. These meetings allow the parties to explore their issues using their own words and feelings.” http://www.collaborativedivorce.net/what-is-collaborative-divorce/
Usually the parties and their attorneys will have 3 or 4 meetings where everyone meets to try to work out the best arrangements on property, finances, and child custody issues.