Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce is a dedicated process that allows you and your spouse to negotiate the terms of your divorce with the support of professionals trained in the Collaborative process and the overlying commitment not to seek court intervention.

Collaborative divorce, which originated in Minnesota and has spread worldwide, is a cooperative, completely private approach to helping couples and families make decisions when they are facing separation or divorce. It uses a team approach to help guide decision-making.  Each spouse has an attorney trained in the Collaborative process and together they decide how to customize the rest of their divorce team.  This team can include a financial neutral, neutral child specialists, coaches based on the needs of the clients, or other expert neutrals to help with appraisals of pensions, real estate or businesses.

With this team approach, couples are encouraged to consider not only their own needs, but the needs of their family as a whole, and work with the support of their team to decide how to end the marriage, divide property, redefine the family, and begin anew.

Collaborative divorce generally has three main goals in mind:

1. Resolve issues more efficiently than in litigation;

2. Manage expenses by using resources where they will do the most good; and

3. Reach an optimal result for the family in all aspects (both personal and financial) so that all concerned can move forward into brighter futures.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Help You Stay Out of Court?

In Collaborative Divorce, couples use open communication and help from their Family/Child Specialist to reach detailed parenting plans without custody disputes. They reach agreement on a future financial plan with the help of their Financial Specialist. Attorneys are available for consultation throughout the process, but couples save a great deal of money when they are able to work with their specialists as neutrals (one on one). At the end of the process, the agreements are drafted into legal language by the collaborative attorneys and submitted to the court to be finalized – no court hearings necessary.

All parties – spouses and each spouse’s attorney – sign an agreement to resolve the divorce outside of court. While couples are free to leave the Collaborative process at any time, and in fact do not waive any rights to work in the Collaborative process, the process is successful because couples begin fairly quickly to see the progress they are making. The Collaborative Professionals limit their services to the process once a Participation Agreement is signed with a couple and are prohibited from soliciting other types of work. In other words, attorneys who work with couples in the Collaborative Process are prohibited from litigating against either spouse in the future; Financial Specialists are prohibited from soliciting financial management work; and Family/Child Specialists are prohibited from seeking work with the family as therapists.

As a trained collaborative divorce professional, Jennifer J. Stevens can represent you in your Collaborative Divorce.   Jennifer will help facilitate negotiations, help coordinate your team of professionals, ensure an open process, and advise on applicable law.  Jennifer works with clients in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Southern Twin Cities suburbs.  Contact Stevens Family Law & Mediation PLLC today to schedule a consultation to learn more.