All divorces are not hate-filled, emotionally and financially draining, and the end of all normal parent-child relationships. If you are facing a divorce and want to avoid the expense and stress of litigation, Collaborative Divorce may be the answer for you. It is a developing trend throughout the United States and internationally. It has several key features.
First, the parties agree to voluntarily exchange all relevant information and to negotiate in good faith. Second, they agree and work to develop shared goals and maintain respect for those goals and each other throughout the process and afterwards. Finally, the parties and their attorneys agree that court proceedings will be avoided if at all possible. If collaboration is not successful, each party must hire new counsel for the litigation. This feature changes the dynamics of the negotiation process and builds in an even greater incentive for an out-of-court resolution to the issues.
The primary goal of a Collaborative Divorce is to reach a mutually beneficial, comprehensive agreement. Secondary goals are to increase the level of trust and quality of communication between
the parties, laying the foundation for the resolution of future disputes before they wind up in court.
The most recent development in Collaborative Divorce is the involvement of professionals other than attorneys as part of a team approach. These specially trained professionals are similarly committed to a less-contentious process and a resulting better outcome. They may include mental health professionals who serve as “divorce coaches” or as child specialists. A financial professional is able to assist the parties in crafting an agreed upon division of property and debts and in preparing budgets to determine the actual needs and resources of the parties. The team members and the parties work together in joint meetings to resolve the issues in the divorce. The meetings are expected and designed to be low-key, non-confrontational exchanges of ideas, information and options. The team approach is not necessarily more expensive, because the mental health and financial professionals actually do work at lower hour rates than an attorney would charge to do it.
Collaborative Professionals of Roanoke (CPR) is a group of experienced, highly trained, and committed attorneys, mental health professionals and financial specialists. Each has been specifically trained in Collaborative Divorce. These individuals maintain private practices in their respective fields while working together to provide the highest quality representation in Collaborative Divorce cases in Western Virginia. They meet monthly to further their practice skills and explore ways to educate the public in this emerging field. They otherwise have no formal affiliation with the other members, except for those who are part of the same law firm or counseling office.