Family Law Practices
Fairfax Collaborative Divorce Attorneys
What is Collaborative Divorce?If you and your spouse are interested in a peaceful, out-of-court resolution to your divorce, you may wish to pursue a collaborative divorce. Also referred to as ‘peaceful divorce,’ ‘divorce with dignity,’ or ‘no-court divorce,’ collaborative divorce combines the security and guidance of attorney representation with the flexibility of a mediated solution. Collaborative divorce occurs when parties agree to resolve their divorce without going to court and hire attorneys who are collaboratively trained. Collaborative divorce can be done with attorneys alone or as a team-based approach involving attorneys, mental health professional coaches and child specialists, and financial experts. The process is intended to result in negotiation of creative solutions that allow for solid legal, financial, and emotional outcomes that both parties can live with. The collaborative process also supports cooperative co-parenting arrangements that many believe will reduce the impact of divorce on children and preserve relationships within the entire family. In a collaborative divorce, the divorcing couple has control of the decisions and agreements that impact their divorce; while trained professionals offer guidance on legal, parenting, and financial questions and the decision-making process. The process can often be less costly than a traditional divorce involving litigation in court.
The Virginia Collaborative Divorce ProcessThe collaborative process typically involves the following sequence of events:
- The parties decide to make their divorce collaborative;
- Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
- The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter;
- The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided;
- The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement;
- The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding; and
- The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.
Results of a Collaborative DivorceThe contractual commitment that results from a successful collaborative divorce is characterized by the following:
- A mutually acceptable settlement outside of the courts;
- Open communication, with shared information; and
- A shared solution that reflects the interests of all involved parties.