When couples separate, or divorce, spouses must find a way to resolve their differences on all relevant issues. Collaborative Practice is designed to minimize conflict while working together toward those resolutions. Parties to divorce, their attorneys and any other professionals involved, agree to make a good faith attempt to reach mutually acceptable settlements without going to court. Working together, couples strive to dissolve the marriage in a way that addresses everyone’s legal, financial, and emotional needs.
There are three (3) broad areas of concern for most couples: (1) How will parenting decisions be made in the years to come? (2) How will the assets and liabilities accumulated during the marriage be divided? (3) What if any, are the continuing financial obligations between the soon to be former spouses and co-parents?
In the Collaborative Process, as opposed to attorney negotiated settlements or litigated court procedures, the problem solving takes a bottom-up approach; not top-down. The Collaborative Process is fact based and transparent. Attorneys provide representation that is geared towards advice, counsel and evaluation of options; the possible consequences of each option, both positive and negative, are discussed in team settings. The need for strategic bargaining is lessened if not, eliminated. This varies inversely with the skill and expertise of the Collaborative lawyers and any other professionals utilized in each case. It is highly counter-intuitive.
The Collaborative Process is a rational approach to a highly emotional situation. The emotions, however, are not ignored. Most Collaborative Law teams, in Cincinnati, include a neutral mental health professional to help clients understand and become aware of how emotions are so often in play and how they can affect process and decision making when spouses are reaching the end of a very intimate relationship; decisions not only about money and finances, but about the best interests of children whose parents have decided not to live together any longer.