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Collaborative Divorce is an alternative method of navigating the divorce process. In a collaborative divorce, both parties hire a trained collaborative lawyer and other collaborative professionals as needed to work together in an out-of-court, problem-solving, non-adversarial process. Both parties and their lawyers enter into a binding collaborative agreement, which include terms such as:

  • Both parties/lawyers agree to voluntarily disclose all relevant information (financial or otherwise);

  • Both parties/lawyers agree to proceed respectfully and in good faith in settlement negotiations;

  • Both parties/lawyers agree to refrain from the threat of proceeding to trial; and

  • Both parties/lawyers agree if the parties cannot come to a complete agreement and need to proceed to a traditional divorce trial, both LAWYERS must withdraw from the case and are disqualified from representing either party.

In the collaborative process, the parties and their professional team communicate and negotiate directly with one another in a structured settlement process. The collaborative process is designed to allow for innovative solutions and approaches to assist parties in reaching a settlement.

Thus, the collaborative process can be narrowly defined as two clients and two lawyers who have made a formal written agreement to adopt a collaborative approach and not to submit contested issues to the court. Other potential team members/professionals include mental health professionals (divorce coach for each client), a child specialist (neutral party to assist with custody/placement issues) and a financial specialist (neutral party to assist with support, maintenance, division issues).

Collaborative practice in family cases at its best is a flexible process in which professionals from other disciplines are incorporated as team members to maximize the benefit for families. It is a common response from people looking into the collaborative process to say: "with so many professionals involved, collaborative divorce must be expensive." Divorce actions, regardless of whether they are collaborative or the traditional "versus" case, can be expensive. However, compared to a traditional divorce, most cases do not return to court on post-judgment issues. Parties who proceed through a traditional, adversarial divorce, are more likely to return to court for post-judgment issues (and incur substantial legal fees) than parties who choose the collaborative method of divorce.

At Kaehne, Cottle, Pasquale & Associates, S.C., our firm is trained in the collaborative divorce process and are certified members of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin - DO NOT HIRE A NON-TRAINED COLLABORATIVE LAWYER FOR A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE - Call us today at (920) 459-8490 to schedule a free telephone or in-person initial consultation to meet with a collaborative divorce/family law attorney.

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