The answers below are general in nature. For answers to your specific questions, especially as they relate to your unique situation, please contact one of our Collaborative attorneys.
1) Will our documents meet the court’s requirements?
Yes, the documents produced using the Collaborative model for your divorce meet all the requirements for divorce in the state of Colorado.
The state requires that certain specific documents be filed regardless of the method used to resolve your divorce issues. Whether your case is resolved through the Collaborative process, Mediation, Arbitration, Divine intervention, or litigation the exact same documentation is required by the court.
It is up to you to determine which resolution method is best for you and your family. A Collaborative professional can help you weigh pros and cons. We feel that the Collaborative process offers a win/win outcome for you and your spouse regarding your settlement and the opportunity to improve your communication for future co-parenting.
2) Does it matter if we have or haven’t filed our papers before talking to a Collaborative attorney?
Collaborative negotiation works best when done free of court deadlines. The demands of an overworked court system to schedule cases can cause a conflict between collaborative negotiations and court requirements. The resulting pressure increases the stress on all involved and can lead to rushed deals that don’t completely address all issues. Also, if part of your divorce settlement includes getting a loan, the fact of having filed a divorce can interfere with that process. That being said, some collaborative negotiations have been successfully conducted even after starting the divorce with the court. However, this takes extraordinary patience and understanding from both spouses, and should only be undertaken with caution. In most cases it is best to conduct your Collaborative negotiation before you file with the court.
3) My spouse says s/he doesn’t need a lawyer. Can we still have a Collaborative Divorce?
Technically, no. Collaborative Divorce specifically applies to cases in which both parties have a collaboratively trained attorney because they do not want the attorneys to make the case adversarial or use threats of going to Court to gain negotiating advantage. Outside of a strictly Collaborative Divorce, professionals trained in this area can help make your divorce less adversarial.
4) How does collaborative divorce differ from mediation?
Collaborative Divorce is a team approach in which the spouses benefit from expert advice and representation in reaching comprehensive and lasting agreements. Mediation is a process in which spouses/parents meet with a neutral mediator to resolve issues through discussion and problem-solving. The Mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate the dialogue but does not make decisions for you.
Because the Mediator does not represent either of you, does not give legal advice or interpret the law, you will decide whether or not to seek legal advice or representation from your own attorneys. The Mediator can also refer you to impartial outside experts in legal, financial, or other fields to address specific questions or issues that might arise.
5) We don’t communicate well. Can Collaborative Divorce work for us?
The short answer is, absolutely. A key support provided in the Collaborative process is helping spouses communicate effectively. Because Collaborative Divorce allows the two of you to be in charge of your own process, as opposed to relying on the court to decide the outcome of your future, the Collaborative Divorce process is vital to helping you both speak to and hear each other.
Collaborative Divorce offers a unique team approach. Each professional is collaboratively trained and models productive, needs-based communication. The Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (CDF) is a vital part of the Collaborative team, who can teach you communication skills such as:
- Learn to catch yourself before you say something that will hurt your cause.
- Identify the things that are most important to you so you can speak them in a way that others can hear.
- Have opportunity, if needed, to say the hard things that need to be said in order to move on.
The Collaborative Divorce process supports the most fragile and unworkable aspects of your relating together so you can get through your divorce and ultimately have a good life and the level of communication you want with each other on the other side of your divorce.
6) Is Collaborative Divorce appropriate for both couples with children and couples without children?
Yes. The Collaborative Divorce process is equally beneficial both for couples who have children and those who do not. When couples divorce, it is because one or both feel that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If the couple has children, they will continue to parent those children, even though the marriage itself is over. Experience and research have shown that children suffer most by the divorce of their parents when there is on-going conflict between the parents. The Collaborative Divorce process assists parents by providing tools to reduce on-going parental conflict. Likewise, it benefits people who do not have children by assisting them through the legal and financial issues so that they can move on with their individual lives, post-divorce, without the harm that an adversarial process can cause.