What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative DivorceAccording to the most recent Census data, both diverse and marriage rates in the United States continue to decline. While this varies from state to state, the overall picture shows that divorce nationwide is at a 50-year low. In 2019, the divorce rate fell to 7.6 new divorces per 1,000 women aged 15 and over compared to a rate of 9.7 in 2009.

In the state of Ohio, there has also been a steady decline in the number of divorces in recent years. According to the Census data, the divorce rate in the state is 7.7, even lower than the national average. This compares to a divorce rate of 10.5 in 2009.

However, if you are planning a divorce, there are a number of options open to you. One of the most cooperative approaches to the divorce process is known as collaborative divorce. In this blog post, we will highlight what collaborative divorce is, why it works, and what are the benefits.

If you are interested in a collaborative divorce lawyer in Cleveland, our team is your No. 1 option.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is a legal divorce process that allows couples to resolve any conflicts out of court. At its heart is a commitment made by both clients and their counsel to not participate in litigation.

Collaborative divorce takes a cooperative approach to proceedings and allows the involved parties to have:

  • More control
  • Less likelihood of conflict
  • Greater confidentiality
  • The ability to control both the cost and timing of the whole process

There are many reasons why a couple may choose a collaborative divorce. One such reason is the desire to protect children from the effects of a high-conflict process. It is also beneficial for those who wish to maintain greater confidentiality over both their business and financial matters and to keep them out of the public domain.

This type of divorce process works best when both sides are willing to maintain an atmosphere of respect, even where there may be disagreement on certain points. A collaborative divorce is a more creative environment that supports joint-problem solving.

How Does It Work?

Once both sides agree to commence a collaborative divorce process, the first thing that will happen is that they sign an agreement. This is known as the Collaborative Family Law Participation Agreement. This removes the threat of litigation.

Both parties will also agree to fully share all information pertaining to the divorce proceeding, such as financial information.

Each side will retain an attorney trained in collaborative divorce and a series of planned team meetings (approximately 4 to 6) will be scheduled. Both parties and their team will meet alongside a divorce coach and a financial professional.

During these meetings, the whole team will work together to find agreements on outstanding issues. Firstly, the goals of each client will be identified while relevant information will be gathered and shared. The allocation of parenting, the division of property, and ongoing support will be among the issues addressed during these meetings.

At the resolution of these issues, the clients’ attorneys will draft the necessary documents required by the Court in order to finalize the divorce process. 

What Is the Goal of a Collaborative Divorce?

There are many good reasons to opt for a collaborative divorce and avoid the risk or need of litigation. Here are three reasons to consider.

Increased Control

While collaborative divorce was possible prior to 2012, it was in that year that the Ohio Collaborative Practice Act was enacted by the Ohio Legislature. This Act effectively formalized the process. It also helped to recognize the constructiveness of the collaborative process and to make it a viable option for couples seeking a divorce.

This Act also defined the essential characteristics of the collaborative divorce process and bestowed statutory privilege on the collaborative process. All of this helped to increase the amount of control both sides have in the whole process. 

Parties do not rely on the courts or judges to set timelines or deadlines for the case. There is also a greater ability to control the cost of the overall divorce process and to ensure greater confidentiality of information.

Reduced Conflict

A collaborative divorce process focuses on achieving a mutually agreeable resolution. Divorce cases that end up in court or on the courthouse steps can be emotionally challenging and highly pressurized affairs. They can be particularly difficult for children who find themselves caught in the middle.

The collaborative approach supports a non-adversarial process that works through any outstanding issues with the help of important supports.

Greater Confidentiality

As noted, collaborative cases are confidential and the outcomes are controlled by both sides of the couple rather than by a judge. Confidential information can also be kept out of the public domain. It is also worth noting that collaborative divorces are generally far less expensive than cases that end up in court. 

Choose the Best Option for Both Sides With a Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is a wonderful option for all divorcing couples in Ohio to consider. Even if two people no longer wish to be married, most people are happy to respect the other side and work with them to find the fairest outcome. This process comes with a number of supports that allow both sides to reach an agreement that suits all, without the need for conflict or litigation.

Contact Anna and her team today to request information or a free telephone interview.

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).

Call: 216-381-3400 x107
Email: apetronzio@ps-law.com
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