Collaborative Divorce is a process model that falls between mediation and litigation.
Essentially, clients hire a team and agree to negotiate their settlement together with the advice and support of the team. Each client has his or her own collaboratively trained attorney plus a neutral financial specialist and either their own or a neutral collaborative divorce coach and a child specialist, if necessary. All of the professionals have had training in the collaborative divorce model as well as at least 40 hours of mediation training.
Some celebrities have opted for this model because of their need for privacy. There is no court involvement at all. Madonna and Guy Ritchie and Robin Williams and Marsha Garces, among others, have used this model.
There have been more, but since the process is so private, there's no telling how many famous people have chosen this option. I'd guess that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes used some variation of the collaborative process since there was no court involvement and it was done so quickly and respectfully.
The attorneys head the team and recommend who and what he/she thinks is best for the client in that particular case. A divorcing couple then uses the specialists as recommended. The collaborative divorce coach helps one or both clients with the practical adjustment and the usual and unusual emotional, parenting and communication issues they may face. The coach or coaches also work with the attorneys to help them understand the clients and the couple dynamic.
The negotiations are done around a conference table with both clients, their attorneys, and relevant team members present, usually in one of the lawyer's offices instead of a court building.
One of the best features of the collaborative divorce process is that a couple gets the targeted help they need—legal, financial, emotional or parenting—from the appropriate professional as opposed to paying high legal fees for all types of problems. While this process choice is still relatively unknown, it's actually been around for ten years and more and more matrimonial attorneys have taken training in the model.
Learn more about collaborative practice and who may be available in your area at collaborativepractice.com and go to mickimcwade.com to read more about the model on the website and further in recommended books.
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