Collaborative law and divorce: What does the process entail?

The collaborative law divorce process is one of the most valuable tools available to divorcing spouses who wish to separate and dissolve their marriages peacefully, efficiently and effectively. Developed by a group of Minnesota family law attorneys in the 1990s, the collaborative law process was intended to fill the need of having a cost-effective and peaceful way of consistently bringing a potentially confictive divorce process to conclusion with an out-of-court settlement.

Collaborative law is somewhat different from the typical out-of-court settlement process and it's also different from traditional mediation -- and it does not include a neutral third-party mediator. Before entering into the collaborative law process, the two spouses will both contract their independent lawyers, who have been trained and certified in the collaborative law process. The two spouses will then appear with their lawyers representing and guiding them during a series of meetings toward the successful resolution of their divorces, and ultimately, a signed out-of-court divorce settlement.

As a part of the collaborative law agreement, both spouses agree that if the collaborative process fails to finalize their divorce agreement, then each spouse will obtain new legal counsel -- as their respective attorneys must withdraw as counsel. Only with the new attorneys may they proceed with the court litigation of their divorces.

Spouses who are curious about collaborative law, and engaging in the process for their divorce, will want to learn more about what the process entails and the potential costs involved. They will also each need to seek out a collaborative law trained and certified legal counselor to represent them.

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