Cooperative Divorce

“Her soon-to-be ex-husband said, ‘She’s going to need more money,’ in relation to alimony,”-Kristen Boldt, Integrative Mediator, Facilitator, & Attorney on how impactful integrative lawyering and collaborative divorce can be “Fear is most often what causes divorce to become contentious.” -Roy Martin, Collaborative Divorce as a Path to Containing Rather than Exasperating Conflict Imagine a world where divorce did not end with one parent getting 100% of what he or she wanted. Or one party getting the majority of the assets. Neither party ever having to choose between eating or paying bills. Where the end of the relationship does not translate into all future decisions relating to the parties and/or their children being delegated to a judge, but rather the power and authority is in the hands of the divorcing parties or parents themselves. This world exists and is run by a very talented group of lawyers who participate in practicing what is known as Collaborative Law. Collaborative Law began in 1989 with Attorney Stuart Webb, who was a family lawyer practicing in Minneapolis. Since its establishment, it has been incorporated into many legal disciplines. (Hyper link to Allie’s Civil Section might be good, here.) In divorce, Collaborative Law provides a less stressful alternative to the adversarial methods or mediator processes. The goal is to have an outcome that emphasizes shared values, and if applicable, is child-centered. Transparency is key. Often, one of the biggest concerns of couples divorcing is cost. Collaborative divorce costs less than litigation and produces results that are creative and long-lasting. It places the power in the hands of the parties themselves, rather than in the court system. As the saying goes…”With great power, comes great responsibility.” Being collaborative means that there is a readiness to disclose all information and documents to everyone assisting in the collaborative process, and that the parties will be communicating extensively. This requires trust and commitment to not resorting to litigation. As such, compromise is imperative. In fact, the parties commit to not retaining any of the lawyers or professionals used in the process, if the case proceeds to litigation. If the divorce goes to litigation, the parties must start from scratch. This notion alone often provides even deterrence to continue the collaborative track. Starting all over means more time, money, and emotionally reliving contentions that might have already been addressed. In using the collaborative method, the divorcing process becomes a one-stop-shop for the parties. Besides each party having a lawyer, there are counselors, financial experts, and even mortgage experts, who can assist the parties with devising the best plan, for them, their assets, children, and even pets, and then putting this plan into action. Because the parties are working together, there is often a satisfaction with the divorce judgment and a tolerable relationship between the parties, which is in the best interest of all, especially if there are children involved.

This page was researched and designed by Caroline Raynis, MBA, J.D.

Stuffed Elephant as Mascot

The Elephant is our mascot. Around the world, the elephant is a powerful symbol of strength, social bonds, wisdom, dignity, grace, wisdom, confidence, patience, commitment, peace, gentleness, discernment,  intelligence, compassion, collective consciousness, and the removal of obstacles.  This particular elephant is a creative depiction of the Blind Men & the Elephant story. 

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