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Collaborative Divorce

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Collaborative Divorce │ Appleton WI Attorneys │ Sheboygan WI Lawyers

Divorce is one of the most emotionally and financially stressful events that can occur in a person’s life.  Traditional litigation only adds to these stresses – the parties are adversarial, conflicts can escalate, trips to the courthouse add up, and so do high attorney fees and other costs. In collaborative divorce, both parties sign a contract where they agree to resolve issues arising in their divorce without litigation. They commit to honest collaboration from start to finish.

Our lawyers work to minimize conflict, protect children and move things along as quickly as possible.  We do this by employing cooperative and collaborative law techniques whenever possible.  Such techniques are non-adversarial, providing an alternative to bitter court battles and orders issued by judges who may not know your circumstances thoroughly.

We are local leaders in collaborative law.  Our Certified Collaborative Attorneys use their experience and training to help people resolve issues relating to:

  • Spousal support and alimony
  • Child custody and placement (visitation)
  • Child support

Another difference is who is involved. A collaborative divorce, is comprised of a team; attorneys, psychologists, financial specialists and child specialists. This eliminates some emotion and allows for long-term, rational resolutions. The parties have his or her attorney to guide them through the process. The two spouses and their lawyers meet together and discuss settlement in four-way meetings. Psychiatrists, child coaches, financial experts and other experts may join the meetings as needed. In this setting, the couple can reach creative solutions that fit their unique circumstances.

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 – Contact Us today to schedule a free telephone or in-person initial consultation to meet with our collaborative divorce/family law attorney.

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