Cleveland Collaborative Divorce Attorney

Many will try to purport that the collaborative divorce process is less expensive and less time-consuming. Now, it may be that sometimes it is, and sometimes it is not but that is not the reason one would be interested in this process. The reason one should be interested in his process is that it allows couples to work together and ensure that their families remain intact emotionally. It allows parents to continue to be parents and care for their children. It allows for couples to not feel overwhelmed financially and emotionally by getting guidance from financial neutrals and financial coaches.

In a collaborative divorce, parties work together- they do not negotiate. Negotiating is for litigation. The parties work together to find equitable solutions. Initially, the parties sign a collaborative commitment that requires full disclosure and the understanding that the parties will not be able to hire their current collaborative counsel if they choose to abandon the process and move to litigation. In other words, if the parties cannot reach an agreement the collaborative counsel must withdraw, and the parties are able to seek new counsel and proceed with a divorce. This commitment ensures that that groundwork is laid for a process where each party is respectful, and both parties are satisfied with the end result. The two parties work together to resolve their issues to end their marriage, including child custody and child support, property division, and spousal support. When an agreement is reached the parties are then able to file for a dissolution of marriage.

Cleveland Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

In 2012, the Ohio Legislature enacted the Ohio Collaborative Practice Act, Of course, collaborative divorce existed before 2012, but this law formalized the process and created a guideline. The guideline also required attorneys who practice in this area of law to have certain certifications.

Collaborative divorce is a bit of a misnomer as it is really a dissolution. Dissolution is one of the two options to end a marriage in the state of Ohio. Divorce is the other. Usually, once the parties including the collaborative co-counsels sign the collaborative commitment agreement, they then begin the process of resolving their issues. Many times the parties choose to have a team to assist them, such as financial advisors and parenting coaches, business and real estate appraisers. Throughout the process, the attorneys act as the gatekeepers to ensure that the process is being adhered to in order to reach a final agreement. When the parties reach a final agreement the collaborative co-counsels draft a Separation Agreement and a Parenting Plan (if there are children involved) and file these documents along with a Petition for Dissolution with the Court. After a short hearing- the Court then grants the dissolution. Finally, many parties discover that there are issues that arise with parenting many years after their dissolution and those parties are always able to come back to the collaborative process and resolve those issues within the process.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce in Ohio

There are many benefits to choosing the collaborative divorce process and those are respect and the ability to continue to work together even though the parties no longer wish to be married. Additionally, there is less stress involved than going through litigation as both parties already come to the process hoping to work out issues rather than fight them out. Collaborative divorce is not always right for everyone, but for those who are willing to work through the issues together in order to benefit their families and their children, it is an exceptional choice.

How Can I Discuss Collaborative Divorce with My Spouse?

If one is interested in moving forward with a collaborative divorce, there are a few manners in which you can approach your spouse. The first is to discuss it openly and review the benefits and disadvantages of collaboration. Another option is to ask the collaborative attorney you have met with to send a letter to your spouse with information about the process, so they are able to review it on their own.

What if I Can’t Reach an Agreement with My Spouse Using Collaborative Divorce?

If your collaborative divorce process fails, then the parties must both hire other attorneys to represent them in filing any litigation with the court.


Contact Anna M. Petronzio

Anna M. Petronzio, a Cleveland, Ohio collaborative and mediation divorce attorney, co-founded Petronzio Schneier Co., LPA in 1993 after graduating from Catholic University of America (B.A. 1990), Suffolk University Law School (J.D. 1993) and John Carroll University (M.A. 1999). Anna is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar, the Geauga County Bar, the Justinian Form and she practices in Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties. Anna is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and a founding member of the Cleveland Academy of Collaborative Professionals (CACP).

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