Collaborative divorce is a type of alternative dispute resolution process in which divorcing spouses work together with a team of professionals to reach a settlement agreement outside of court. In Colorado, collaborative divorce is a popular option for couples who want to avoid the stress, expense, and uncertainty of traditional litigation.
The collaborative divorce process in Colorado typically involves the following steps:
- Hiring Collaborative Professionals: Both spouses hire their own attorneys who are trained in the collaborative process. They also assemble a team of professionals, which may include financial advisors, child specialists, and divorce coaches.
- Initial Meeting: The parties, their attorneys, and the other professionals meet to discuss the goals and concerns of each party, as well as to establish the guidelines for the collaborative process.
- Information Gathering: The parties exchange information about their financial and personal circumstances, with the help of their attorneys and other professionals.
- Negotiation: The parties and their attorneys work together to identify the issues that need to be resolved and negotiate a settlement that meets the needs and goals of both parties.
- Finalizing the Agreement: Once a settlement is reached, the parties and their attorneys prepare a written agreement that outlines the terms of the divorce.
- Court Approval: The agreement is presented to the court for approval, and once approved, becomes a legally binding court order.
Here’s a more detailed explanation of each step in the collaborative divorce process in Colorado:
Hiring Collaborative Professionals: In collaborative divorce, each spouse hires an attorney who is trained in the collaborative process. These attorneys are not traditional litigators, but rather professionals who are skilled at helping couples work together to find creative solutions that meet the needs of both parties. The spouses may also choose to work with other professionals, such as financial advisors, child specialists, and divorce coaches, to help them navigate the divorce process.
Initial Meeting: The first meeting in a collaborative divorce is usually a joint meeting between the parties, their attorneys, and any other professionals involved in the process. This meeting is an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and to establish the guidelines for the collaborative process. The parties will discuss their goals and concerns for the divorce, and the professionals will explain how the collaborative process works and what to expect.
Information Gathering: In collaborative divorce, both parties are expected to be transparent and forthcoming about their financial and personal circumstances. The parties and their attorneys will work together to gather and exchange information about assets, debts, income, and expenses. Other professionals, such as financial advisors, may also be involved to help ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of their financial situation.
Negotiation: Once the parties have gathered and exchanged all relevant information, they will begin the negotiation phase of the collaborative divorce process. The parties and their attorneys will work together to identify the issues that need to be resolved, such as property division, spousal support, and child custody and support. The parties will be encouraged to work together to find creative solutions that meet the needs and goals of both parties. The negotiation phase may involve several meetings, and the parties may seek input from other professionals, such as child specialists or financial advisors, as needed.
Finalizing the Agreement: Once the parties have reached a settlement agreement, their attorneys will prepare a written document that outlines the terms of the divorce. This document will include provisions related to property division, spousal support, child custody and support, and any other relevant issues. The parties and their attorneys will review the document to ensure that it accurately reflects their agreement, and any necessary revisions will be made.
Court Approval: The final step in the collaborative divorce process is to present the settlement agreement to the court for approval. Once the court approves the agreement, it becomes a legally binding court order. The collaborative divorce process is designed to be a more amicable and less adversarial approach to divorce, and it can help the parties to maintain a more positive relationship with each other after the divorce is finalized.
The collaborative divorce process in Colorado is designed to be a respectful and non-adversarial approach to divorce. It empowers the parties to take control of the divorce process and work together to create a settlement agreement that is tailored to their unique needs and circumstances.