Frequently Asked Questions

Can Collaborative Divorce save me money?

Yes, it can. The Collaborative Process is focused on settlement, with everyone working together towards the same goal, so it can be more efficient.

Collaborative Divorce eliminates the emotional and financial costs of the multiple court appearances and conflicts that are often part of a traditional divorce, as well as time your lawyer is waiting in court for your matter to be heard.

You also save the money that might be spent on multiple experts to prepare documents and exhibits for use in court, or to conduct discoveries and issue subpoenas.

The emotional support of Divorce Coaches can help you move through conflict that otherwise might keep you stuck for months, or even years.

By staying focused on the developmental needs of children, the Child Specialist assists the parents, attorneys, and the divorce coaches in making the children a priority during the divorce process.  This can also help move the process forward.

The cost of a Collaborative Family Law case is directly related to how quickly you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement. Your Collaborative Family Lawyer is the best person to ask about fees for your specific case.

Is Collaborative Practice a faster way to get a divorce?

Your situation determines how quickly your divorce process proceeds. However, Collaborative Practice can be more direct and efficient.

By focusing on problem-solving – instead of blame and grievances – there’s an opportunity to strive for respectful results. Full disclosure and open communications assure that you cover all the issues in a timely manner.

And since you settle out of court, there’s no wait for the multiple court dates necessary with conventional divorce.

Do the parties ever have to go to court?

The goal of the Collaborative process is to resolve all the issues through negotiation and settlement. Assuming that an overall agreement is worked out through the Collaborative process, a stipulated judgment will be prepared, submitted to the Court and signed by the Judge without either party ever having to appear in Court. In fact, as stated elsewhere, the Collaborative attorneys are committed from the outset to represent the parties only so long as the issues are kept out of Court.

Which professional should I contact first?

Depends on your immediate questions and concerns. Many couples start by contacting a Collaborative Family Lawyer because lawyers play such a central role in the Collaborative Process. But if your main concerns are financial, then you might want to get in touch with a Financial Specialist. Likewise, if you’re struggling with emotions, conflict and/or parenting issues, start by contacting a Divorce Coach or Child Specialist.

Any Triangle Collaborative Divorce Professional can get you started and refer you to others.

Our Separation is not amicable. Can we still do Collaborative Divorce?

Yes, you can—even if you don’t consider yourselves “collaborative.” Collaborative Divorce helps couples in high-conflict separations come to an agreement and move forward with strength and dignity.

Collaborative Family Lawyers are specially trained to help you define your needs and negotiate through conflict.

Divorce Coaches can share tips and techniques to lower stress and help you communicate and feel heard in the midst of anger and bitterness.

And if you share children, the Child Specialist helps you make sure your children are protected from the damage caused by family conflict.

We don’t want our personal finances and troubles to become public knowledge or turn up on the Internet. Will collaborative practice protect our privacy?

Yes. The Collaborative Process makes it unnecessary to place in the court’s public files documents detailing your personal matters. This is a significant advantage for many high-profile couples or those who simply wish to preserve their privacy.

Is Collaborative Divorce appropriate for same-sex couples?

Collaborative Divorce is a natural fit for LGBT families, who face all the emotional and financial challenges that come with any divorce, along with the reality that the system isn’t always designed to meet their unique needs.

Whether they’re coming to the table with a non-traditional family structure, with or without children, or a fear of bias in the court system, LGBT families can benefit from the personalized, holistic, and open-hearted approach of Collaborative Divorce.

Will my lawyer tell me to give up on the Collaborative Divorce process, if appropriate?

Yes. A lawyer is obligated to tell their client if they believe a fair and satisfactory agreement cannot be achieved through the Collaborative Process, or if they believe that the information, which is being provided, is an insufficient and unreliable basis upon which to make an agreement. Before terminating the process, these problems will ordinarily be discussed by each attorney with their own client, and by both parties and their attorneys, in an effort to obtain full cooperation from both parties in the process.

I feel that I am at a disadvantage because my spouse has always controlled our finances. Will I have the same rights as I would if we went to court?

Yes. Financial disclosure must happen fully and voluntarily, and without delay. This requirement is fundamental to the Collaborative Process. It signals that the parties are willing to be straightforward and avoid game-playing about information. In Collaborative Practice, the parties aim for the considerable benefits that flow when information is freely shared rather than concealed.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan is the document that reflects an agreement by parents for how to make important decisions about their children, how to communicate about their children, the schedule for time with the children and how to resolve any future disputes regarding the children. No one must fight over custody labels when parents choose to prepare a parenting plan. Neutral child specialists have the professional education and experience about child development and are a valuable resource to parents in developing the parenting plan.

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