Collaborative divorce has been around for over twenty years. This approach has its origin in family law but also has been used in business and probate matters. Many of the practitioners – attorneys, therapists, financial professionals and mediators – believed there was a better way to assist parties and their children through the divorce process.
We believe the benefits of collaborative divorce are many. A growing number of our colleagues, as well as members of the community, including judges, feel the same way. Simply stated, with few exceptions, family law matters should not be part of a traditional litigation process. As members of the Colorado Collaborative Divorce Professionals, we work within this “unbundled” legal option to offer choices to our divorcing clients.
The concept of unbundled legal services allows a client to select those aspects of legal representation that he or she desires and not have to pay for “full service” legal representation.
The Colorado Collaborative Divorce Professionals website lists the benefits of collaborative divorce to be:
- Privacy by staying out of the courtroom
- Control over the outcome without interference by the court
- Financial resources working towards resolution and settlement, not trial preparation
- Common sense to come up with workable solutions
- Children and the emphasis on their long-term well-being
- Respectful interactions between the parties and professionals
In collaborative divorce, the parties have to opt in and agree on the use of the collaborative process. Once in the process, the parties work with their attorneys, financial professionals, mental health professionals, business experts, child specialists and other experts depending on what the main issues are in that divorce. Helping professionals are brought into each case based upon the identified unique needs of the parents and children in each case.
A unique aspect of Collaborative Law is that if one or both of the parties choose to leave the process and go to court, they must both hire new attorneys. This attorney disqualification provision is designed to assure that both parties are committed to the collaborative law process and are willing to work diligently to reach a fair resolution. While this can cause additional financial costs, almost all collaborative cases are able to settle successfully.
Many people understand that traditional litigation and courts are not good for both parents and children. Many divorce clients are seeking litigation. We believe the benefits of collaborative law are many. We are happy to discuss all alternatives with clients so they are able to make an informed decision that is best for them and for their children.