How a Collaborative Divorce Works

Collaborative law, also known as collaborative divorce, is a legal process used in divorce cases. In Wisconsin a collaborative divorce enables spouses to separate using lawyers and specific negotiation rules to avoid court and to achieve a settlement.

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for You?

If you and your spouse are able to still communicate, but are struggling to come to an agreement on the important details of your divorce, and you'd both prefer to have the advice of an attorney, then collaborative divorce is a good choice, especially when both parties still want to function amicably as a family for the children.

What are the benefits of a collaborative divorce?

  1. Collaborative divorce is simpler than litigation.
  2. It takes place out of court in an informal setting.
  3. You both get to voluntarily exchange information.
  4. Negotiate a settlement agreement that works for you both.
  5. You can decide now how to handle post-settlement disputes.
  6. You'll save time. A 2010 IACP study[1] show 58% of collaborative divorces concluded in 8 months compared to 12-18 months for a traditional divorce.

Collaborative Considerations

Breaking the Collaborative Pledge is Expensive

Both side’s attorneys, child specialists, therapists and financial advisors also sign the pledge not to court. If this written pledge is broken all professionals involved in the case promise to STOP representing both clients.

This is part of the process because it protects the integrity of the process. If the pledge is broken both spouses will need to start from scratch. This aspect of the process on the part of the professionals is a significant and absolute component to collaborative divorce.

Open Exchange of Information between Parties

Another part of collaborative divorce is that both sides agree to open, honest, and voluntary disclosure of all financial and relevant information. This allows all parties to proceed in good faith as they continue with their negotiations toward a final agreement.

Since information is openly available, formal litigation tactics, such as discovery, depositions, and written interrogatories are unnecessary. This also means attorneys are working collaboratively rather than argumentatively, saving time and money in the divorce process.

Best Interests of All Family Members at the Center

The collaborative divorce process requires the best interests of all the family members to be kept at the center of the agreement. This means keeping the best interests of the children at the center of the agreement at all times instead of fighting.

The practicality of this rule means considering what placement schedules work best for each spouse to maximize each other’s time with the child.

References: [1]2010 IACP Study

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