Q. How would the Collaborative Process benefit me?
A. The Collaborative Process allows you to take control of your divorce and design your own outcome without going to court. The process recognizes that divorce is not just a legal matter, but is also importantly an emotional, financial, and family matter. The Collaborative professional team structures the process to give you expert advice on the legal, financial and emotional aspects of your divorce. This results in a more efficient, streamlined, and personalized process, in which you receive support from highly experienced and trained practitioners to help you move forward.
Rather than fighting in court, you will be able to refocus and harness your collective energies to creatively problem-solve your way to resolutions that reflect the realities of your life and family. You and your Collaborative team will pull together and explore options and solutions that will work for you.
Q. I want to keep my kids safe and make sure our divorce isn’t damaging for them. How can I accomplish this?
B. You and your spouse will always be the parents of your children, and the Collaborative Process helps you develop an effective co-parenting relationship that will work post-divorce to ensure your children’s future well-being.
In the Collaborative Process, parents commit to working together on ways to help their children adapt to and thrive in their restructured lives. Parents know their children best, and can directly discuss and make decisions that address their children’s needs and concerns. The child specialist, who works in a neutral capacity to bring the concerns of the children into the process, assists parents as they work together on parenting issues. The child specialist helps parents develop a residential plan and parenting schedule that work well for the entire family and is responsive to the developmental needs and individual personalities of your children. Both the coach and child specialist work to ensure that parents can effectively communicate about their children after divorce so that the children’s needs always remain front and center.
Q. I am worried about how I will survive financially on my own after divorce, and be able to retire. How will my financial concerns be addressed in the Collaborative Process?
C. We will examine your economic picture in depth. You will achieve a complete, detailed understanding of all aspects of your finances as well as the ramifications of potential choices so that the financial decision-making process makes sense to both of you. The financial neutral will help you to identify assets, liabilities, and lifestyle costs, and create scenarios to find workable solutions.
Finances are typically a source of anxiety for divorcing couples. The financial professional, by working with both of you in a neutral capacity, helps to diminish the polarization that money concerns often create in divorce. With the financial neutral’s assistance, you will brainstorm options to generate a wide range of possible solutions that align with your needs and goals. The financial neutral will help you evaluate the long term impact, including retirement issues, of various options, to find those that are acceptable to both of you.
Q. I’ve heard divorce is expensive and I’d like to keep as much of our assets as possible for us. Can I save money by choosing the Collaborative Process?
D. In the Collaborative Process you maintain control over decisions that affect your family’s future.
Since you have committed not to go to court, your attorneys focus solely on problem-solving and not on court preparation. The Collaborative Process is therefore typically less expensive than litigation.
However, conflict is expensive, both financially and emotionally. Divorce is a major life transition and can be a very disorienting experience. The Collaborative Process assists you in reducing conflict and managing the strong emotions that are a natural part of the process. Reducing the level of conflict almost always reduces the expense as well.
The collaborative coach will help you deal with the emotional challenges that may interfere with making good decisions so that you and your spouse can communicate effectively. By helping you develop more effective ways to talk with each other, the coach helps you to think clearly and stay focused on win-win settlement solutions.
Importantly, the value of working together with your spouse in informal, direct discussions, about the issues you care most about, and creating personalized, durable outcomes that make sense, is very high. Rather than fighting in court, you will be able to refocus and harness your collective energies to creatively problem-solve your way to resolutions that reflect the realities of your life and family. You and your Collaborative team will pull together and explore options and solutions that will work for you.
Q. I don’t like the idea of my personal life on display in the courtroom for anyone to hear. Is the Collaborative Process confidential?
E. Yes. The process is private, without any court intervention or public access. Each Collaborative professional and each party commits to full confidentiality, so that you and your spouse feel safe to be as honest as possible about what is important to each of you and to feel free to explore and think outside of the box about possible options for resolution.
Q. I married my husband when same-gender marriage became legal in New York in 2011. Unfortunately, we are now facing divorce. Is the Collaborative Process appropriate for same-gender couples?
F. Same-gender couples face unique legal, financial, and parenting issues that the Collaborative Process is well suited to address. Issues regarding the legal parentage status of children; second parent adoption; the formation of families; and defining the legal date of marriage, are some of the concerns that same-gender couples can work on in the process. Couples can avoid the uncertainty and impersonalization of court and create outcomes for themselves and their children that reflect their values and future needs, and are responsive to the individual issues surrounding their particular family dynamic.