July 14, 2014

Collaborative Divorce: Is It Right For Me?

imsis090-028When people consider divorce, they typically think of two ways to reach a resolution – litigation or mediation.  While both have benefits, many couples find they would prefer a third option.  That’s where Collaborative Divorce can be the perfect fit. It offers individual representation for each party, similar to traditional litigation, while focusing on client driven resolution, akin to mediation.

Collaborative Divorce is a process. Unlike traditional litigation where the “process” is driven by the court system, a collaborative divorce is driven by client decisions, with the assistance of legal, financial and mental health professionals. Together, they work toward a mutually acceptable final agreement through a series of meetings.  Respectful communication, transparency in information sharing and problem-solving which focuses on future goals are some of the hallmarks of a Collaborative Divorce.

Each family is unique and Collaborative Divorce is designed to be responsive to the needs of the family. Neutrals, who have specific areas of expertise, such as a financial or child specialist, are critical to the process.  Neutrals assist couples in a cost-effective and efficient way to fully understand their options as they make important parenting and financial decisions.  Collaborative attorneys serve as both advocates and models for the process; they pay attention to the goals of their clients and using interest-based negotiations, they help clients to achieve a “win-win” solution. Collaborative attorneys not only advise their clients on the law specific to their jurisdiction but also counsel on decision-making that will help keep the family’s best interest in mind.

In many respects, Collaborative Divorce brings together the best attributes of litigation and mediation; it is a process that helps couples navigate divorce in a thoughtful, informed and forward focused manner – at a pace driven by the clients.

Elizabeth I. WrobelABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Wrobel

Elizabeth Wrobel, JD is a partner with Wrobel & Smith, PLLP. She practices in the areas of collaborative family law and health insurance disputes. Although Elizabeth’s legal roots are in government practice, she now enjoys working directly with real people and their real-life challenges. Elizabeth’s passion for helping families is met in her collaborative law practice where she can use creative problem solving to assist families through the challenges of transition. Elizabeth understands that conflict can be expected, but how the professionals respond and guide a couple through divorce is critical in minimizing the harm.

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