Everyone at Stafford Law Office works hard to ensure that divorce is an open and honest process. We want you to be able to respect yourself and your former partner during and after the divorce. Unfortunately, if either divorcing spouse is not fully committed to open communication and fair negotiation, battles can erupt. Too many divorces end in a final court confrontation that is unnecessarily painful for both persons, and especially hurtful for any children.
However, if a divorcing couple is willing to commit to mutual respect throughout a divorce, we recommend choosing Collaborative Divorce. It is an approach that focuses on open communication and cooperation and avoids the stress and confrontation of going to court. It is an increasingly popular method that allows divorcing spouses to work with professionals to achieve the best possible settlement in a way that focuses on the children and facilitates respect among the parties.
Three essential elements are important in a 'Collaborative Divorce':
- Shared Information: Both sides agree up front to share all information equally. If the divorce requires that new information be acquired (for example, appraising a house), then the parties agree to jointly hire a neutral expert, rather than arguing about whose values are correct.
- No Court: Both parties, and both attorneys, promise that they will not go to court as part of the divorce. In fact, the retainer agreements for each attorney contain a clause that if either the Husband or the Wife wishes to go to court, that both attorneys must immediately withdraw from the case.
- Respect for Shared Goals: At the outset of the Collaborative process, both sides and their attorneys sit down to discuss shared goals, such as minimizing conflict in front of the children, preserving good relationships for each parent with the children, ensuring that each person has sufficient assets to move on and build a new life, and etc. Both sides commit to respecting those goals throughout the process and doing as much as possible to ensure that the shared goals are met.
We can discuss whether a Collaborative Divorce might be right for you during your initial consultation. For more information on Collaborative Divorce, consult the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) .