Collaborative Divorce – The No-Court Divorce

Collaborative Divorce is a new way for a divorcing couple to work as a team with trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court.

In a Collaborative Divorce, each spouse has the support, protection and guidance of his or her own lawyer. Often, other professionals such as child specialists, financial specialists and divorce coaches will be brought in to advise on matters in their areas of expertise. At Rosen Law Firm, we provide our clients with an experienced team of divorce experts.

Collaborative Divorce is not a dispute resolution option in the same sense as mediation or arbitration. Rather, collaborative divorce is a set of voluntary ground rules entered into by the professionals hired by you and your spouse. While the details vary from collaborative practice to collaborative practice, the central idea is that the following inviolable core elements are set out in a contractual commitment among all the parties:

  • negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without using court to decide any issues for the clients
  • withdrawal of the professionals if either client goes to court
  • engage in open communication and information sharing, and
  • create shared solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both clients.

If you are one of those folks that says “we’re only going to hire lawyers if we can’t work it out and it gets really ugly” then Collaborative Divorce is for you. This process allows you all the benefits of getting legal advice without the negative possibilities of involving lawyers in your personal life. Collaborative Divorce lawyers help you make good decisions about financial issues. For example, they advise you about the hidden pitfalls of the tax code and the intricate rules imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service governing retirement plans. They make sure you don’t make document drafting mistakes that cost both parties in ways they didn’t expect. Collaborative Divorce lawyers make sure you understand the law, your rights, your obligations and the legal effect of your decisions. Collaborative Divorce gives you all the benefits of good legal representation without any of the negative factors.

Both your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer must be trained in collaborative divorce law for the process to work. Take a look at our directory of recommended collaborative divorce lawyers that have been approved consistent with our quality analysis and screening criteria. Use that list to have a conversation with your spouse and agree to each meet with a lawyer from the list. There are all kinds of lawyers on the list and you should be able to find someone with the knowledge, experience, personal characteristics and personality you are seeking.

Collaborative lawyers are trained and skilled in collaborative law, thus creating an open environment that encourages the peaceful resolution of issues. It’s important, however, for you to realize that you are entrusting your soon-to-be former spouse to be honest in the negotiations. While the collaborative process sets the tone for full and honest disclosure; attorneys have limited capacity to ensure your spouse’s honesty.

Like mediation and arbitration, collaborative law attempts to maintain a civil relationship throughout the negotiations process as well as after an agreement is reached. If either you or your spouse becomes stuck on a particular issue, a mediator may be consulted to help with the collaborative process. If the mediator does not help you to come to a conclusion or you decide not to attempt mediation, you both hire new counsel and then deal with the unresolved issues in either arbitration or litigation.

Thanks to alternative dispute resolution options, when negotiations fail, you and your spouse no longer are forced to go to court. Although some people still choose to fight their differences out in court, knowledge of these options give you other opportunities to try to settle your case without the financial and emotional burdens that generally come with litigation. Couples can now reach lasting solutions that benefit both parties and their children.

Three steps to a successful collaborative divorce:

1. Meet with a collaborative divorce attorney. In the Triangle (Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill) or Charlotte areas call Rosen Law Firm at 919-787-6668 or 704-307-4600, respectively. For referrals outside of the Triangle, go to our collaborative attorney locator.

2. Refer your spouse to one of our recommended Triangle area Collaborative Divorce Lawyers. Tell your spouse to review the list and ask them to find someone they feel is qualified. Generally, it is better to leave the choice to your spouse rather than providing a specific name. Any of the attorneys listed here will provide excellent advice and service. For a collaborative attorney outside of the Triangle, go to our collaborative attorney locator.

3. Begin the collaborative process with the help of your attorneys. There will be no mystery or secret strategy discussions. The process is transparent and both spouses will be completely involved and understand what’s happening each step of the way.

The Recommended North Carolina Collaborative Divorce Attorneys are highly respected attorneys who practice independently of one another, yet are well known to each other as practitioners of skill and integrity, and who can be trusted to honor their promises to negotiate in good faith and with full disclosure. These attorneys are recommended because they have been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated and determined to maintain the highest standards with respect to their commitment to the collaborative process of dispute resolution.


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