Contested divorce, the traditional adversarial divorce process, is being replaced by collaborative divorce as the preferred divorce option for families. The collaborative process is designed to provide maximum support and resources for you and your spouse in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution of all the issues associated with a divorce and the resulting life changes. Built upon respect and open discussion, collaborative divorce is designed to make sure the needs of both spouses, and your children, are heard, considered, and understood.
The Collaborative Practice approach helps you move beyond reactive based positions common in contested divorce, toward interest-based agreements that work for both spouses, and which, focus on your values and your needs; not on a win-lose mentality. In the collaborative process, a team of professionals addresses the legal, financial, and emotional needs of each spouse.
Using professionals who have specific expertise provides an efficient, effective, and generally more affordable divorce process. Yyou and your spouse each retain your own family law attorney who’s trained in the collaborative process to provide counsel, legal advice, assistance in reaching an agreement and to prepare the documents needed to initiate and conclude the legal divorce. You and your spouse also jointly retain a collaborative neutral financial specialist and a collaborative neutral divorce coach, who work with you to gather the information needed to reach a mutually acceptable divorce agreement as effectively, efficiently and affordably as possible.
A distinguishing requirement that makes the collaborative process different from a contested divorce is that both spouses and the attorney of each spouse agree, in a written Participation Agreement, they will not file any action in court during the time the spouses are working toward settlement. Should you and your spouse be unable to reach a final agreement on all issues, the Participation Agreement also provides that the collaborative attorneys and the other team professionals will withdraw from their representation. If this happened, you and your spouse must then each retain different attorneys to litigate your divorce in court.
Research shows that one of the best predictors of a positive collaborative divorce process and outcome is the selection by divorcing spouses of collaborative professionals who respect each other, who have successful track records of settling cases together, and who work together effectively and efficiently so as to help you reach creative, respectful and thoughtful solutions. Each member of the Collaborative Practice Kansas City group meet the standards for practice excellence as set by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) .
To find out if a collaborative alternative to contested divorce is right for you and your family, contact a Collaborative Practice team member at 913-380-2560 or click here.