<ul><li>Collaborative law is a new model of Family Law that was introduced by Stu Webb in 1990. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law is an alternative to the litigation model of divorce and family law. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law recognizes that family life doesn’t end with a dissolution of marriage. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law takes a team approach to divorce. Attorneys, mental health providers and financial experts assist their clients with better understanding the legal, psychological, and financial aspects of their divorce and how to best go forward. </li></ul>
<ul><li>One or both parties hire attorneys. </li></ul><ul><li>One party files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the other Party files an Answer with the Court 20 days later. The “Court Clock” begins ticking. </li></ul><ul><li>Each party prepares his/her own financial statement and documentation that must be exchanged. Parties may hire separate financial experts to determine the marital assets and debts. </li></ul><ul><li>The parties determine a parenting plan for their children, or the Court appoints a Child Family Investigator to determine what he or she thinks is best for the children. </li></ul><ul><li>A settlement proposal is offered by one side to the other. Parties come to an agreement based on what is best for the party’s needs and desires, or a contested hearing is set with the Court. </li></ul><ul><li>If parties don’t settle right before the hearing after months of waiting for a hearing. A Court hearing is held, and families’ future is decided by a Judge who has heard everything, and has now known your family for a couple hours. No one “wins” and parties rarely rest with the decision and post decree matters come back later. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Both parties hire attorneys that have been collaboratively trained. The parties sign an agreement that neither attorney will join them if they decide to litigate later. </li></ul><ul><li>Neither party files anything with the Court. The Attorneys schedule a 4-way meeting for the parties and counsel to sit down to first discuss the situation. Collaborative Law is client driven and works on the time line of the parties. </li></ul><ul><li>The Parties jointly determine if a Financial Neutral is needed. A Financial Neutral will assist the couple with preparing their statements, and disclosure information. </li></ul><ul><li>The parties determine a parenting plan based on the needs of the children. If agreement cannot be reached, divorce coaches, or child experts may be agreed upon to help the parties determine what is best for the children. </li></ul><ul><li>Once the parties have agreed to their financial settlement, and the parenting plan, the attorneys draft the agreement, the parties sign the paperwork together, and everything is filed with the Court. </li></ul><ul><li>Because of the time and personal investment in the resolution, both parties more likely to be committed to the resolution and not have to come back later. </li></ul>
Your Divorce Coach A personal coach to help with the emotional struggles a divorce has on a family Your Lawyer acts as your personal manager for the process, helping you separately determine your needs and legal issues Your Financial Manager A Financial Neutral works with both of you to determine the best financial strategies for your family. You and your spouse work together to resolve your disputes with the help of your team and theirs. Some team members are the same for both of you. Your lawyers and divorce coaches remain separate but may all be involved in the group meetings when decisions are made.
Your Team Manager Helps you plan your strategy, figure out your needs, and advises you throughout the process <ul><li>Your Personal Manager- Your Lawyer </li></ul><ul><li>In Collaborative Law, your lawyer has been specially trained to help you determine what your needs are, and how to help you find ways to accomplish those without devastating the other party or your family moving forward. </li></ul><ul><li>A Collaborative Lawyer will: </li></ul><ul><li>Work with the other party’s counsel to determine meeting times and the players that should be added to your team. </li></ul><ul><li>Advise you and Advocate for you throughout the process. </li></ul><ul><li>Assist in drafting and filing the agreements made and make sure all of the legal aspects of your divorce are discussed and determined fairly. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Your Coach – The Mental Health Providers </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law is unique in recognizing and confronting the emotional side of family law. </li></ul><ul><li>A Divorce Coach will: </li></ul><ul><li>Help you better communicate your needs, and help you distinguish them from your wants. </li></ul><ul><li>Help you learn to better hear your spouse’s needs during a time of confrontation. </li></ul><ul><li>Assist you with facing your fears and concerns that can affect your decision-making for long term agreements . </li></ul>Your Coach Helps keep you focused to keep your head in the game for a win-win resolution for your family.
<ul><li>Your Team Score Keeper or “Stat man” </li></ul><ul><li>The Financial Neutral will: </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss your incomes and how they relate to issues of child support and maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Help assess your debts and assets </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss your retirement plans and the tax consequences of dividing them. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps determine forward looking budgets for both families. </li></ul><ul><li>Usually in charge of keeping track of the costs of the process as a whole. </li></ul>Unlike a traditional divorce or post-decree matter, A Financial Neutral is agreed upon by the parties to assist them with determining the financial strategies for the family to move forward.
<ul><li>In Collaborative Law there are 3 main sources of cost: </li></ul><ul><li>1. COURT COSTS. The cost to file a Petition, Response and serving legal documents in Colorado is approximately $300.00 </li></ul><ul><li>2. EXPERT FEES. The cost of an expert depends on the type of expert, his or her experience, and the amount of time they expend. Experts may include Mediators, Appraisers, Child and Family Investigators, and Certified Divorce Planners. </li></ul><ul><li>3. ATTORNEY FEES. Attorneys bill by the hour. Costs vary. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Just as traditional divorce, costs vary based on the needs of the parties. The team approach and win-win mentality of Collaborative Divorce is meant to keep you from having to come back again later to modify your agreement. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law doesn’t go to Court </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No unnecessary status conferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No litigation measures for discovery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No continued hearings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law is a transparent process </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law incorporates the use of other professionals that often charge less than attorneys and thus helps keep costs down. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Law often eliminates costs of discovery or competing experts. </li></ul>
You want a civilized, respectful resolution of the issues. You would like to keep open the possibility of friendship with your partner later You and your partner will be co-parenting children together You and your partner have a circle of friends or extended family in common that you both was to remain connected to You value privacy in your personal affairs and do not want details of your problems to be available in the public record You value control and autonomous decision making and do not want to hand over decisions about restructuring your financial and/or child-rearing arrangements to a stranger, (i.e. the judge) You understand that conflict resolution with integrity involves not only achieving your own goals but also finding a way to achieve the reasonable goals of the other person
www.DivorceIntheWest.com 970-445-7517 Your Peak to Peak Practice Group Serving Eagle, Summit, Lake, and Clear Creek Counties. www.ColoCP.org The Colorado Collaborative Law Professionals Website. www.collaborativepractice.com The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals website