Collaborative Divorce

Frank Shayan practices Collaborative Law and specifically Collaborative Divorce Law in addition to traditional Family Law.  After reading the following, if you believe that you might be a good candidate for a Collaborative Divorce, get in touch with Mr. Shayan to discuss the specific circumstances of your case.

About Collaborative Divorce

The traditional adversarial divorce, is not the only route to take if one wishes to end their marriage. All divorces have a legal, emotional and financial aspect to them which need to be addressed before the two parties can go their separate ways. This is true in a traditional type of divorce as well as in a Collaborative Divorce. However, a Collaborative Divorce provides a much preferred alternative to the traditional way of getting divorced, if the divorcing couple qualify for it and are a good fit for the process.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Law, and specifically Collaborative Family Law or Collaborative Divorce, is an alternative and non-adversarial process in which there is no litigation between the divorcing parties. Generally cost-effective, Collaborative Divorce offers the parties a safe and dignified method of achieving a divorce by reducing the conflict among the two parties and minimizing the impact of the conflict on the parties, their children and their lives. In short, Collaborative Divorce is a different, and in many ways as explained below, a better way to divorce.

In a Collaborative Divorce an interdisciplinary team of specially trained professionals meet in a series of meetings with the divorcing couple in order to help them resolve their issues and to finalize their divorce in an agreeable, civil and respectful manner. The Collaborative Law process allows the professionals to guide the divorcing couple through the divorce in an environment of good faith, cooperation, transparency, honesty, integrity and professional ethics. The focus is on problem-solving and finding respectful solutions to the natural issues that come up in a divorce.

The professionals involved guide the couple towards reaching balanced, respectful and lasting agreements which makes achieving a successful Collaborative Divorce possible. With the guidance of the professionals involved, the divorcing couple are empowered to make sound, long-lasting decisions that will positively impact them, their offspring and their lives after the divorce.

Which type of professionals are involved?

In a Collaborative divorce, each party has their own attorney, as they would in a traditional divorce. There is then one neutral Mental Health Professional that is brought on board and finally a neutral Financial Professional. These four professionals meet with the parties in a series of joint meetings during the process in order to facilitate the Collaborative Divorce. Since there is no litigation, there is no need for any depositions, subpoenas or for opposing experts to testify in hearings or trials. The attorneys are still involved in their traditional role of advocating for their clients but they do so in a non-adversarial fashion. They work towards the common goal of facilitating mutual agreement between the parties.


What are some of the benefits of the Collaborative Divorce?


COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE GENERALLY SAVES MONEY:

Even though there is no guarantees of saving money for the parties, and even though there is a Mental Health Professional and a Financial Professional involved in the case, the financial costs to the parties may be lower than a traditional divorce.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE SAVES TIME:

A regular traditional divorce could take years to finalize, depending on the complications and issues that could come up in a normal divorce. A Collaborative Divorce could take anywhere between 3 to 9 months, enabling the couple to wrap up the process and to move on with their lives much faster.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE REDUCES ANIMOSITY:

As the emphasis is on cooperation, there is much less animosity and negative feelings during the Collaborative Divorce process. Since the process significantly minimizes collateral damage, it leaves room for enhanced post-divorce familial relationships. So, not only the divorce becomes less painful than it normally is, but also the Collaborative Divorce process makes it possible that the couple have a more civil interaction with each other after their divorce is finalized.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE REDUCES POST-DIVORCE LITIGATION:

Generally, a divorce settlement is rarely the end of the litigation between the divorcing parties. The parties might go to court for a myriad of reasons, such as requesting modifications to court orders regarding Alimony, Child Support, Time Sharing, etc. In a Collaborative Divorce on the other hand, since the emphasis is on cooperation, generally better results are negotiated and reached during the process than they normally would have through litigation. Therefore, there is much less of a chance that there will be post-divorce litigation to change what was previously agreed upon.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE PROMOTES PRIVACY:

The Collaborative Process preserves the couple’s privacy and their dignity. As opposed to a traditional divorce, in a Collaborative Divorce, generally no Financial Affidavits need be filed with the court and therefore the couple can keep their financial lives from becoming a part of the public record.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ALLOWS CREATIVE SOLUTIONS:

The Collaborative process empowers the parties to determine their own unique resolution to the issues involved in their divorce. It allows the couple to maintain control over the decision-making process. It empowers the divorcing couple to resolve their disputes and issues without surrendering to a process in which judges, magistrates or other court personnel make decisions for them which will shape the rest of their lives. The parties are able to negotiate personal solutions that are right for their family as opposed to being limited to what they can ‘win’ in litigation.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE IS BETTER FOR CHILDREN:

The Collaborative Divorce Process is the better way to divorce as it protects the well-being and needs of the children.


Who qualifies for a collaborative divorce?

Any couple who wish to get a divorce, but are still capable of being civil towards one another would qualify for a Collaborative Divorce. This process is for the cooperative couple who wish to resolve their disputes respectfully. If the couple are capable of having rational conversations, at least with the help of the Mental Health Professional that is involved, together with the help of the attorneys involved, they are able to benefit from the process. You can talk to Mr. Shayan, explain your relationship with your spouse and discuss with him whether you would be a good fit for a Collaborative Divorce.

What is the rate of success of the Collaborative Law Process?

Due to the fact that Collaborative Law attorneys screen and evaluate the couple and their relationship before suggesting the Collaborative Divorce Process to them, the process has a very high rate of success. Generally, about 90% of the couples who engage in the Collaborative Divorce process are able to complete it and reach a successful resolution.

Is the Mental Health Professional necessary to the Collaborative Divorce Process?

Yes! Absolutely. The couple are divorcing in the first place because they do not see eye to eye on some or all of the issues in their lives. The Mental Health Professional is specially trained to assist a qualified couple interested in a Collaborative Divorce to work with each other and make the process a success. The inclusion of the Mental Health Professional in the Collaborative Divorce Process is often the most critical component that makes a successful outcome possible.

Is the Financial Professional necessary to the Collaborative Divorce Process?

No! The need for a Financial Professional is determined on a case by case basis and is determined by the amount of assets and liabilities that the couple brings to the table to be divided as a part of their divorce. It is entirely possible that a couple’s finances are so straight forward that there will be no need for a Financial Professional in their Collaborative Divorce proceedings. In all other Collaborative Divorces where there is a substantial amount of assets and liabilities that need to be distributed among the two parties, the Financial Professional is absolutely indispensable to the process. As a neutral professional, he or she works with the couple and assists them through the financial aspects of their Collaborative Divorce.

Are the results of a Collaborative Divorce legally binding?

Absolutely! The results of a Collaborative Divorce are legally binding agreements that resolve the issues presented in any divorce. When the process is successfully over, the couple will have a legal divorce.