About The Collaborative Family Law Process

Ending a marriage is never easy. Traditional divorce is usually thought of exclusively as a legal process (you hire a lawyer to advocate for your positions and go to court if a settlement cannot be reached). Once legal paperwork officially ends the marriage, many couples with children have to figure out on their own how to interact on behalf of their children.

The Collaborative family law process, on the other hand, allows you to resolve disputes with the guidance of attorneys and other professionals who are trained in the art of principled negotiation. In other words, our professionals can help.

You will establish your interests and goals and talk with each other to come to decisions together for yourself and your family, both during and after the process. The collaborative process keeps the decision-making control in your hands rather than with a stranger (whether a judge or magistrate) because who wants a stranger making decisions for you or your family? With a successful collaborative family law process case, you will leave with a plan on how to productively interact on behalf of your children.

More Than A Legal Process

Divorce is much more than a legal process. It is an emotional, spiritual and financial journey that includes a legal component. Just as marriage is much more than a marriage license, the process of divorce is far more than a judge simply signing the Decree of Divorce or Decree of Dissolution.

Instead of rushing to the courthouse, send us a message to discuss litigation alternatives. You DO have choices.

The Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Professionals brings together not just lawyers, but also financial professionals, mental health practitioners and real estate appraisers. All of our members have completed basic collaborative law training and many have regularly attended advanced training.

What Is Collaborative Family Law?

In this process, both you and a soon-to-be ex-spouse agree to resolve your disagreements in a reasonable and respectful manner without resorting to adversarial court proceedings. Negotiations will focus on both of your interests (known as interest-based negotiation). These are the important issues you care about and the concerns that you have moving forward that will help guide the professional team in moving you both to a final agreement, based on your needs. These negotiations take place in private (the atmosphere is one of honesty, transparency, cooperation and integrity), looking at the future well-being of you and your family members.

Lawyers and neutral coaches, child specialists (mental health professionals) and financial professionals (CPAs, CDFAs and CFPs) are all part of your professional team and may be consulted and involved as collaborative team members as necessary based on your needs. This interdisciplinary method facilitates creative resolutions tailored by you for your family. For more detailed information, please read our FAQ page.

Requirements To Begin On The Collaborative Road

A collaborative participation agreement must be signed by all the parties. You and your spouse need to seek representation from collaborative family lawyers. Hopefully, you and your spouse will both choose attorneys who have had collaborative training.

The collaborative family law process is a transparent process. You must agree to make timely, full, candid, transparent and informal disclosure of information related to the collaborative matter. This will occur without formal discovery (as occurs in litigation). This also requires that information is updated promptly when there are material changes along the way.

Communications with lawyers in the collaborative family law process are privileged, as they are in other legal matters. But privileged communications also extend to those made between the parties and nonparties designated to participate in the collaborative family law process (such as financial professionals and family coaches).

A Series Of Manageable Tasks

The process moves forward through a series of manageable tasks. Separation or divorce is like other challenging life transitions and holds the promise of transformation, growth and healing.

The goal of collaborative team practice is to help families or couples create the strongest possible foundation for the future as two households are established. This process provides assistance to clients in each aspect of the process: emotional, relational, financial and legal.

Smoothing The Road To Co-Parenting

For parents, the process focuses on building effective co-parenting communication and decision-making skills. Children and their ideas may also be honored in the process. Neutral expertise in areas of financial decision-making, co-parenting and creating a developmentally responsive parenting plan surrounds the counsel of each client's collaborative attorney.

This team process can streamline problem-solving and often leads to more creative options tailored to meet the unique needs of your family. Learn more; send us an email.