How It Works - Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis

Collaborative Family Law Association

A team of professionals working together with you

How it Works

Everyone involved in collaborative divorce agrees to be part of a respectful and confidential process that leads to an out-of-court resolution.

You and your spouse craft your own agreements rather than having a judge make decisions that affect the rest of your life. Your professional team will help you share information, clarify issues, focus on priorities, communicate constructively, and make decisions that allow the best outcome for all members of your family. When an agreement is reached, the collaborative attorneys will assist you in submitting your agreements to the court. At no time will the professionals engage in an adversarial court process.

Meeting with a Collaborative Divorce Professional

The first step in your collaborative divorce process is to assess whether this process is right for you. This may be done by contacting any collaborative professional, who will help you evaluate your options and appropriate next steps. If you decide that collaborative divorce is right for you, the collaborative professional will help you to involve your spouse and assemble a collaborative divorce team of professionals to guide you through the process. You can meet with an attorney, mental health professional, or financial neutral to start the process.

First Meeting with Collaborative Divorce Team

At your first collaborative divorce meeting, you are introduced to the entire collaborative team. You commit to the collaborative divorce process by signing a Collaborative Participation Agreement, which includes a formal commitment to work together towards resolution, as well as guidelines for the process. You and your spouse will outline your goals and we will establish a road map for next steps. Your road map is a plan for future meetings with particular collaborative professionals that are needed to address the outstanding issues.

Ongoing Collaborative Process

Not every member of your professional team attends each meeting. Ongoing meetings will be configured to provide the professional input you need to address and resolve the outstanding issues. You may meet alone with your attorney for legal advice and planning. At other times, you may meet with your spouse and the other attorney for analysis, option-generating, and decision-making sessions. You may meet with your mental health professional(s) for assistance in managing the emotional turbulence of divorce, communicating effectively, and developing a parenting plan that addresses the needs of your children. You may elect to have a child specialist meet with your children to assess their needs, to bring their concerns into the discussion, to help you minimize any negative impact of your divorce, and to alert you to any vulnerabilities. You may meet with a financial professional to help identify and value assets as well as provide guidance on tax and cash flow issues.

Finalizing an Agreement

Once a settlement is reached, an agreement and the other legal documents required are prepared by the collaborative attorneys and signed by the parties.

Submitting Agreement to the Court

The documents are submitted to the court as an uncontested divorce. The Judge signs and a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is entered by the court.

Assisting in Transferring Assets

The collaborative team helps with transferring and dividing any assets.
Download the Collaborative Divorce Roadmap
Download the PDF

Think Collaborative Divorce is Right for You?

Are you interested in a divorce process that is respectful, private, and cooperative? Does your spouse have a similar approach? Take our step-by-step quiz to see if collaborative divorce is right for you. Or, reach out to a professional to discuss your options and start the process.

St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association

Divorce … A Different Way, A Better Way, With Integrity.
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