The Civilized Divorce – Part I

The following article is by North Carolina family law attorney Lee Rosen:

Nationwide, collaborative divorce is attracting considerable attention as a proactive and humane settlement option, and it’s starting to catch on . . .. When executed as agreed to by divorcing individuals and their attorneys, studies show that a collaborative settlement is reach faster than older forms of negotiation and greatly reduces the emotional trauma families experience in the throes of a divorce, especially the children. It also significantly lowers the expenses incurred by divorcing couples, protecting families from unnecessary resource depletion at a time when monies are needed to establish two households.

In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has the support, protection, and guidance of his or her own lawyer. Often, other professionals, such as child specialists, financial experts and divorce coaches will be brought in to advise matters in their areas of expertise.

Collaborative divorce is not a dispute resolution option in the same sense as mediation or arbitration. Rather, collaborative divorce is a set of voluntary ground rules entered into by the professionals hired by you and your spouse. While the details vary, the central idea is that the parties agree not to take the case to trial. You, your spouse and all professionals involved sign a contract to honor the following core elements of collaborative divorce:

  • To negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without using court to decide any issues for the clients
  • To engage in open communication and information sharing
  • To create shared solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both clients
  • To ensure the withdrawal of the involved professionals if either client goes to court