During a collaborative divorce, the parties and their attorneys make a total commitment to settle all issues, without ever threatening or going to court. Each attorney's representation is limited solely to working with the parties in a collaborative process to achieve an acceptable settlement.
Unlike in mediation, as your attorney, I can offer you advice on both the strategy and legal issues during the process. We will have an attorney-client relationship, which means everything you tell me is confidential.
The Collaborative Law Participation Agreement
At the beginning of the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse will sign a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement in which you commit to:
- Treating all participants with courtesy and respect
- Freely and honestly exchanging and disclosing all information needed to make decisions about any issues
- Listening to and trying to understand each other's concerns and perspectives
- Focusing on the future, instead of dwelling on the past
- Working together to focus on the best interests of the children
- Negotiating in good faith to find a sustainable solution that will be acceptable to both parties
Coming To An Agreement Around The Table
You, your lawyer, your spouse and his or her attorney will all be at the negotiation table. There may also be other experts, such as a financial neutral, coach and/or child specialist. Prior to the negotiation, you and your spouse will set an agenda. Each collaborative law meeting lasts two hours. During that time, you will have a conversation to discuss your goals and plan for your children and your future.
At the end of the collaborative meeting, you are able to leave the table and go on with your life — you go back to your job and are able to concentrate on your job duties, you continue to be a parent and you work on your individual goals that you establish during the collaborative process. Life goes on during the collaborative process.
Once you have come to an agreement on all of the issues, I will help you create an agreement that can be signed by a judge to finalize your divorce.
What If Collaborative Divorce Doesn't Work For You?
Before you choose collaborative law for your divorce, we will discuss all of your options to make sure it is a good fit for you. The reality is that once I am your attorney in your collaborative divorce, I cannot be your attorney in any courtroom battle. In fact, a large reason collaborative divorce works is that the parties agree to not threaten to go to court.
These issues are tough, and the conversation may get heated. If challenges come up during the collaborative divorce, we can take a break to regroup and cool down before continuing the discussion.
It's All About Having Choices...
To learn if collaborative divorce is right for you, please call 412-281-6555 or fill out my online form. We can arrange a free 30-minute consultation at my Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, law office. In addition to normal office hours, I offer appointments on Saturday mornings (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.).