Started by lawyer Stuart Webb in Minneapolis in 1990, the parties are encouraged to communicate what is important about an issue rather than arguing for a specific position or solution. It requires, therefore, that the married couple be committed to working with and not against each other in order to achieve results.
Both parties and their attorneys sign a Participation Agreement stipulating that the attorneys will remove themselves from the divorce proceedings should they fail to reach a negotiated settlement. The couple agrees not to begin litigation during this process, to act in their children's best interests, and that all communications will be constructive and fair, among other agreements.
It is not the same as divorce mediation, in which the mediator is a neutral party. In collaborative divorce, although working together to achieve a negotiated settlement, the attorneys are not neutral. Each lawyer provides his or her client with independent legal advice.
This is clearly a gift for families with children, as it limits the likelihood of an extensive, bitter battle the likes of which can leave lasting scars. Medicine Hat, Alberta was one of the earliest cities to take advantage of this new approach such that family cases in their courts were reduced by 85%.
For the couple willing to manage their emotions and think about their future relationship to their former spouse, collaborative divorce offers a less-expensive, friendlier approach to dissolving your marriage.
M. Makael Newby, 2010 - All Rights Reserved - http://mmakaelnewby.blogspot.com