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What are the steps of a collaborative divorce?

For many people, the whirlwind of information that is addressed during a typical divorce can be exhausting. To help keep divorcing couples on task and relatively stress-free, a collaborative approach to divorce was created. In typical divorce cases, negotiations, arguments and repeated contests of rulings and orders can have couples bouncing back and forth throughout the process. Individuals participating in a collaborative approach to their divorce are kept on task by their attorneys through a step-by-step process.

The first and most obvious step to a collaborative divorce is to hire an experienced attorney. When doing so, individuals should seek the help of an attorney that is experienced in the collaborative approach to law and who is open to negotiation and mediation problem resolution. After an experienced attorney has been chosen, individuals should make their situation and desired outcome completely clear to their attorney.

Once your attorney has a comprehensive idea of your desired outcome, it may be time for a four-way meeting. These meetings may occur on a regular basis and include you, your attorney, your spouse and their attorney. These meetings will be used to address each spouse's concerns and requests. In the event an outside professional is required, a neutral, third party will be requested. These individuals may be used when discussing sensitive topics like child custody.

Although the collaborative approach to family law is intended to make the process of divorce easier, it is not always 100 percent effective. Occasionally, mediators must be brought in to address specific concerns. In the event that mediation does not resolve issues, divorcing couples are free to enter into litigation proceedings. However, these proceedings must be done without their collaborative attorneys. Both spouses and their attorneys typically sign a no-court agreement that states the attorneys will withdraw their representation if the divorce goes to court.

The collaborative approach to family law is designed to offer a faster, less expensive, and typically more stress-free alternative to divorce. Although this approach may seem less involved, it is complex and requires the help of a skilled attorney.

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