We like to see collaborative divorce as a process akin to sitting down at the kitchen table and working things out. While it isn’t really as informal as this, collaborative divorce is a tried-and-true way to minimize stress, potentially keep costs down and come to a resolution that satisfies all involved.
At our Minnetonka, Minnesota law firm Beckman Steen & Lungstrom, P.A., our attorneys are strong supporters of using collaboration to resolve family law disputes. Unlike mediation, during which the two spouses negotiate directly with each other under the guidance of a neutral third party, collaboration requires the two parties and their attorneys to follow a process that ideally begins before divorce papers are even started.
How the Collaborative Practice Process Works
The process requires the two parties to cooperate in reaching their mutual goal of a divorce settlement. In practice, this means that they agree to:
- Communicate openly
- Work to resolve matters through the collaborative process rather than through litigation
- Share information
In addition to embracing the collaborative process, the spouses and their attorneys must commit to having new legal representation if collaboration does not achieve a settlement. This assures each party that his or her attorney is truly seeking to resolve the issues through collaboration, rather than trying to move the process to a more expensive courtroom venue. In addition, it may benefit the parties to explore other alternative dispute resolution techniques, such as mediation or arbitration, if their efforts at collaboration fail.
The collaborative process does not occur in a vacuum. Rather, the parties may agree to consult experts in areas of disagreement. These experts may be financial advisers, child psychology specialists or appraisers of real estate, businesses and personal property. Of course, the other experts involved in the collaborative process are the two attorneys, each of whom must be trained in collaborative law.
Twin Cities Collaborative Practice Attorney
Jennifer A Beckman is trained in collaborative law and is a member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota and Collaborative Divorce Professionals. To learn more about us and how we can help you resolve family law disputes positively, call to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with one of our lawyers today.