The largest divorce firm on the East Coast, Rosen Law Firm provided a great outline of what the Collaborative Divorce process is.
“Collaborative divorce really gives people control over their destiny”, says Lee Rosen, president of Rosen Law Firm and divorce attorney for twenty years. “This approach encourages a more peaceful resolution to marital conflict where people maintain very amicable relationships throughout the process and the threat of court isn’t there”. Collaborative divorce is different from dispute resolution, mediation, or arbitration. When a collaborative divorce takes place a set of voluntary ground rules are agreed upon. The central idea is that the parties hire lawyers who agree in advance not to take the case to trial.
In a collaborative divorce procedure, if a case cannot be settled and the parties decide to litigate, both must hire new attorneys, as outlined by the collaborative divorce rules. Also, both parties’ lawyers must be trained in collaborative divorce law for the process to work. “We are so committed to this cooperative approach that we’ve not only trained every one of our attorneys in collaborative divorce law, we’ve also provided free training to attorneys in several other firms”, says Rosen.
Like mediation and arbitration, collaborative law attempts to maintain a civil relationship throughout the negotiation process, as well as after an agreement is reached. If either party becomes stuck on a particular issue, a mediator may be consulted to help with the collaborative process.
I do believe it is a concept that will work. However, I do not believe it will work in every divorce. Not because couples that divorce simply can not get along. In my opinion, I do not believe the average couple has the money to pay for the process. But, I do believe it certainly has a place in the divorce process. Since one of its goals is to maintain a civil relationship, I can see where the children of a divorce may benefit the most. If we can keep the divorcing parents from cutting each other up in court, perhaps we can help to maintain a better relationship between the parents.
I do plan to start getting training in the process as soon as I can. The problem, no matter what area you practice in or live in, there has to be at least two attorneys that practice Collaborative Law.
More to follow.