Why should I consider divorce using the Collaborative Process? - Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis

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Why should I consider divorce using the Collaborative Process?

Sophya Qureshi Raza

The Collaborative Process is an approach to divorce that emphasizes cooperation and negotiation between spouses, with the goal of reaching a mutually agreeable settlement. It is a forward-focused alternative to traditional litigation that can provide a more amicable and efficient approach to resolving divorce-related issues.

Here are some key points about the Collaborative Process in Missouri:

  1. Voluntary Participation: Both spouses must willingly choose to participate in the Collaborative Process. It requires a commitment from both parties to work together honestly and respectfully to find solutions.
  2. Collaborative Team: Each spouse has their own collaboratively trained attorney who will guide them through the process. Other professionals, such as divorce coaches (mental health professionals), child specialists, and financial experts may be involved to provide specialized support and expertise.
  3. Agreement to Settle Out of Court: The Collaborative Process aims to settle all issues out of court. The spouses and their attorneys sign an agreement stating that they will not resort to litigation. If either spouse decides to pursue litigation, the collaborative attorneys must withdraw from the case, and new attorneys will need to be retained.
  4. Open Communication: The Collaborative Process encourages open and transparent communication between spouses. This allows for a better understanding of each other's needs, concerns, and interests, facilitating the negotiation of a mutually beneficial settlement.
  5. Focus on Interests and Needs: Instead of positional bargaining, the Collaborative Process aims to identify the underlying interests and needs of each spouse. By focusing on common goals, creative solutions can be explored to meet the needs of both spouses and their children.
  6. Privacy and Confidentiality: The Collaborative Process offers greater privacy compared to traditional litigation. The discussions and negotiations that take place within the collaborative team are confidential, promoting a safe environment for open and honest communication.
  7. Court Approval: Once the spouses reach a settlement agreement, it must be submitted to the court for approval. The court will review the agreement to ensure it is fair and in the best interests of any children involved. When approved by the judge, the agreement becomes legally binding.

It's important to note that while the Collaborative Process can be a beneficial option for many couples, it may not be suitable for all situations, especially if there are significant power imbalances, concerns about domestic violence, or an inability to cooperate. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine if the Collaborative Process is the right choice for your circumstances.

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