In Georgia, a Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial approach to your divorce without court intervention, which usually results in a faster and less expensive divorce process. In addition to less expense and being faster, a collaborative divorce offers an opportunity to use teams of professionals for all the aspects of your divorce process and still have a strong possibility of saving money and a chance to abolish the win lose mentality of litigation and it favors a solution where the members of the divorce party are both mutually content with the outcome. It has the likelihood to avoid so much unnecessary future heartache and pain. The collaborative divorce process is influenced by honor and respect. By setting a civil and polite tone, a collaborative divorce invites the divorcing spouses to exhibit sympathy, comprehension and participation. It is also good mention that collaborative divorce experts are trained in helping keep dialog productive. The intention is to attain an agreeable, mutually beneficial divorce without going to court.
The steps for collaborative divorce are as follows:
The first step is initial contact.
Taking into consideration that this is a fairly new process, it is recommended that one of the party members contact an experts in collaborative divorce who will give them information on the process. At that point, if the married couple agrees to follow through with a collaborative divorce the expert will then advise them on contacting other collaborative divorce experts to form a team.
The second step is formation of the Collaborative Divorce Teams
A collaborative divorce team typically includes 2 divorce coaches, 2 attorneys, 1 neutral financial specialist and 1 child specialist. The roles that play are:
- The divorce coach guides the spouses in developing the skills they will need to reach a beneficial settlement; some of the skills are self-management and respectful negotiation.
- The lawyers typically assist the spouses in negotiating an agreement that benefits the both of them. Once a mutually beneficial agreement has been made, the attorney will file the required documents at the end of the process.
- The financial specialist helps the spouses in gathering any crucial financial documents that may be needed and gives the married couple some foresight on any financial consequences their choices could have.
- The child specialist is there to look for the children’s needs and best interest in the process and speak for the children if they have something they wish to say.
The third step is the first meeting
The spouses and the lawyers have what is called the initial four-way meeting in which they try to address as many issues as possible.
The fourth step is the collaborative practice agreement
This agreement is considered to be one of the most important items to be handled at the initial meeting. This item highlights the principles that serve as the base of the collaborative divorce process. The agreement addresses the spouses’ joint commitment to settling their divorce without the need for court intervention.
The fifth step is the Collaborative Divorce Agenda
After all the initial paper work has been signed it is recommend that everyone talk about the best way to continue with the divorce. It is important that the spouses’ decide on the concerns that need more attention and which issues can be held off for a bit, creating an agenda for the divorce.
The sixth step is the conclusion of the initial meeting
There are two things that need to be addressed before the initial meeting is over. The first, a date and time need to be set for the next meeting and well as which experts will be in attendance of the meeting. The second is a list of any documents that one of the spouses might need from the other.
The seventh step includes the follow-up meetings
Any meeting after the initial meeting will address any of the spouses’ concerns so as to reach an agreement. Since most follow up meeting will be on different subjects it is not required that every expert attend every meeting. But just because they don’t attend a meeting does not mean they can’t get outside issues resolved, such as emails or documents being sent or phone calls being made.
The eighth step is the final agreement
At the end of the collaborative divorce process the lawyers will prepare a settlement agreement, a parenting plan, child support worksheets and an addendum, and also file any necessary documents that need to be filed which are the same documents that would be prepared at the end of any normal divorce case. If everyone agrees to the settlement the spouses will sign the documents and they get filed with the court.