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The Collaborative Divorce Process

Collaborative divorce refers to the process of spouses working together to settle the terms of their divorce outside of court. Collaborative divorce is voluntary and normally means that negotiations remain amicable and address the interests of both parties through joint agreements.

The Collaborative Team

A collaborative team is assembled upon the decision by a couple to proceed with a collaborative divorce. This team will help the couple to negotiate the terms of their separation cooperatively so that desirable outcomes for both parties can be reached. A collaborative team will typically consist of each spouse, their respective lawyers who represent their individual interests, and specialists who work with the couple to achieve a collective resolution. A collaborative team’s specialists might include a divorce coach, a financial specialist, or a family law specialist. Couples with minor children may likely obtain a child specialist.

Participation Agreement

A participation agreement will typically include rules dictating the procedure of the collaborative process. These might include commitments to:

  • Fully disclose any relevant personal or financial information
  • Polite and non-threatening correspondence
  • Avoid court proceedings and threats of litigation
  • Maintain the privacy of each party throughout the divorce process
  • And possibly more

Interest-Based Negotiations

Interest-based negotiations occur when both parties intend to reach a mutually agreeable outcome. This means that the feelings, needs, and interests of each spouse are addressed and fairly considered during the division of assets or custody arrangements. Through interest-based negotiations, spouses may also be more likely to maintain a civil relationship with each other.

The members of your collaborative team and the contents of your participation agreement can vary depending on your unique situation. To find out more about how to organize a collaborative team or negotiate a participation agreement, contact our family lawyers at Gelman & Associates today.

Collaborative Divorce vs. Mediation in Ontario

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution which helps spouses to settle the terms of their divorce or separation through the aid of a neutral, third-party mediator. Mediators are typically family law lawyers, but can also be represented by mental health professionals or other specialists used in conflict resolution. A mediator does not represent the interests of either spouse and does not offer legal advice to either party. Their main goal is to facilitate communication and negotiation between spouses so that they might reach a settlement outside of court.

Alternatively, collaborative divorce involves direct communication and negotiation between a couple and their respective lawyers. A neutral third party is not required as both spouses have already agreed to reach a settlement outside of court via their Participation Agreement.

Spouses who take their divorce to court are often required by a judge to attend a mediation session before proceedings begin. Since collaborative divorces function through direct communication between spouses and their lawyers, mediation is normally not necessary. Whether mediation or collaborative divorce is preferable will depend on your goals and your relationship with your spouse or partner. For more information about the right route for you, contact our family lawyers today.

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Me?

Collaborative divorce can be a useful pathway for navigating your separation. It is usually appealing to couples who are capable of negotiating peacefully and working together. Since collaborative divorce does not go to court, it can save each party both time and money. Those who participate in collaborative divorce also exercise much greater control over the division of their assets and other important issues, as there is no interference from a judge over final decisions.

If cordial contact cannot be maintained between yourself and your former spouse, a collaborative divorce may be a less desirable option. Separations that occur due to domestic violence, financial abuse/misconduct, or adultery can make collaboration more difficult. Regardless of the situation, we recommend you consult with a family lawyer.

Contact our Collaborative Divorce Lawyers For a Consultation

Divorces can be messy, time-consuming, and costly. With the help of family law lawyers focused on conscientious negotiation, you, and your family’s best interests, collaborative divorce can be a productive and less stressful option. Gelman & Associates family lawyers can assist in the formation of your collaborative team and participation agreement so that you might settle your divorce efficiently, amicably, and in the way that you wish. Contact our representatives today for a consultation about how a collaborative divorce might work for you.

Disclaimer: For specific legal advice on your family law matter, please consult with a family law lawyer. The content in this article is not intended to act as legal advice and is instead intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic.

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