Collaborative Divorce & Alternative Dispute Resolution Guide

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative law, practiced by a Collaborative Divorce Attorney, is an alternative to the more typical adversarial litigation. Not every divorce has to work their way through the traditional court system. Collaborative divorce is how you separate in a more positive manner, but you need to meet certain criteria. A Collaborative Divorce is designed to reach resolutions that are best for the entire family. It allows for more privacy, control, and avoids litigation.

Collaborative divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The other main types of alternative dispute resolution are arbitration and mediation. The differences are important to know:

  • In a collaborative divorce both parties work to obtain a solution best for everyone.
  • In mediation both parties fight for their own interests and come to a solution that is acceptable for everyone.
  • In arbitration both parties fight for their own interests and a solution is decided by the arbitrator.

How Does Collaborative Law Work?

During a Collaborative Divorce in an Oregon Family Law matter, the parties work with experienced lawyers, mediators and divorce coaches to help end their marriage quickly and peacefully. Collaborative Divorce requires a commitment to cooperation. The parties must agree to specific requirements before hiring Collaborative Divorce attorneys. One specific requirement is that at the end of the day, if the parties are unable to settle any conflict, the attorneys involved are disqualified from representing their client in the traditional sense moving forward. This disqualification emphasizes the settlement orientated process and ensures that the attorneys are fully engaged in helping the parties resolve their differences.

The actual collaboration can take various forms and will be decided on between on the parties and attorneys involved. Once a couple wanting to divorce has committed to collaboration they each hire their own collaborative law attorney. You will meet with your lawyer privately to lay out your various positions regarding asset/debt division, custody, visitation, spousal support, child support, and any other outstanding issues.

Next, the parties will have likely many four-way meetings with both parties and their attorneys. These meetings will address every item related to the divorce coming closer and closer to an acceptable settlement. If at any time the parties can not cooperate and the court must get involved, both attorneys will be forced to withdraw. An attorney cannot represent you ethically in a cooperative then subsequent adversarial manner. At that point you will have to self-represent or hire a new attorney. If collaboration is successful,  a draft general judgment of dissolution will be signed by both parties and submitted to the court for approval by a judge. Once approved an signed by the judge the couple will be officially divorced.

Is a Collaborative Divorce Attorney Right for Me?

Collaborative divorce is only for those committed to cooperation. If you believe you or your current spouse cannot cooperate throughout the entire collaborative divorce, go through the normal divorce process. If the situation is right, a Collaborative Divorce attorney could help you obtain the quickest, easiest divorce possible. However, a failed collaborative divorce is unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming. Ask about what what is right for your situation during your consultation.

Family Law Attorney

To speak with an experienced family law and collaborative divorce lawyer today, contact the family and divorce attorneys at Kroll & Johnson, PC by calling (971) 205-3266 to schedule a consultation.

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