Collaborative Divorce

EXTRAORDINARY TEAM OF PASSIONATE & COMPASSIONATE ATTORNEYS.

Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial process in which you and your spouse each hire a specially trained collaborative divorce attorney to represent you and negotiate an agreement. Both parties make a pledge that the attorneys will withdraw if an agreement cannot be reached.  Once the collaborative divorce starts, the lawyers are legally disqualified from representing you and your spouse in a contested legal proceeding.

Collaborative Divorce protects privacy and confidentiality and allows for an agreement without court intervention.  Although the process is much gentler and well received by those who embrace it, the divorcing parties must be willing to work honestly, openly, and in good faith to arrive at a fair resolution without court involvement.

This process encourages creative problem solving, win-win negotiations, and resolutions designed to meet the needs of all members of the family for a long time to come.  Therefore, reaching an equitable agreement often requires a team approach, with input from financial advisors and mental health professionals as well as life coaches and child specialists. The goal of the experts is to educate the parties and explore settlement options to meet the long-term needs of both parties and their children.

For this reason, some couples need a lot of time to complete the process, whereas others will reach solutions in a few meetings. Scheduled meetings with a firm agenda help the couple to conclude the process more quickly. Because there are more professionals involved, this process can be more expensive than mediation.

The key ingredient of Collaborative Divorce is that the negotiation between the parties takes place in four-way meetings where both sides and their attorneys are present. The lawyers, who have training similar to mediators, work with you as their client and one another to assure a balanced process that’s active and productive. When there is agreement, a document is drafted by the lawyers, and reviewed and edited by you and your spouse until everyone is satisfied.

Collaborative Divorce Offers Legal Support

Each party is represented by a lawyer trained in collaborative divorce, whose representation terminates if the agreement cannot be settled and moves to court.  It offers you the protection and support of your own lawyer without handing control over to the court.

Collaborative Divorce Encourages Assistance from Other Trained Professionals

Divorce is not an easy process, and sometimes a couple will benefit from the assistance of divorce coaches, financial planners or child psychologists.  Collaborative divorce can bring supportive professionals to the bargaining table to help reach an equitable agreement, taking the needs of everyone in the family into account.

Solutions and agreements are reached by sharing information.  It prioritizes planning for a peaceful future by minimizing conflict with your spouse.  Even though there is a compromise on both sides, the final agreement is something you can both accept.

The couple signs a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter and voluntarily discloses all relevant information.  Disputes are resolved respectfully based on the ethical behavior of both parties. Although a divorce is never pleasant, you can divorce with dignity.

Attorneys from the McConnell Family Law Group practice throughout Connecticut, covering: Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Westport, Wilton, West Hartford, Simsbury, Avon, Farmington, Glastonbury, New Haven, North Haven, Guilford, Madison and surrounding areas.  To learn more about Collaborative Divorce or to schedule an appointment with an attorney, contact us today by calling one of our offices.

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How does the Collaborative Process benefit children?

Our firm understands your children are your greatest assets and that it is in their best interests to experience minimal stress and anguish during your divorce. Neutral third-party professionals are brought into the collaborative divorce process to provide opinions on best practices; one of these professionals is often a child psychologist who can advise you and your spouse on ways to help your children along in the process. Additionally, the child specialist works with each parent and the team to help create the best possible parenting plan.  A Collaborative divorce places a premium on the overall wellbeing of your children.

How would you describe the “Collaborative Process”?

Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial process in which you and your spouse each hire a specially trained collaborative divorce attorney to represent you and negotiate an agreement.

Collaborative Divorce protects privacy and confidentiality and allows for an agreement without court intervention.  Although the process is much gentler and well received by those who embrace it, the divorcing parties must be willing to work honestly, openly, and in good faith to arrive at a fair resolution without court involvement.  Both parties make a pledge that the attorneys will withdraw if an agreement cannot be reached.  Once the collaborative divorce starts, the lawyers are legally disqualified from representing you and your spouse in a contested legal proceeding.

How expensive is the Collaborative Process versus to mediation/litigation?

In general, because there are more professionals involved, this process can be more expensive than mediation, but it is frequently less expensive than the litigation model – particularly those that involve court appearances. 

What are the main benefits of the Collaborative Process?

Collaborative divorce avoids contentious court battles.  It bears repeating that divorce does not have to devolve into bitter contentious matches in court. Such actions can exacerbate the pain, heartache, and stress commonly associated with divorce. The overall tone and attitude of parties engaged in collaboration are markedly different from a contested divorce, which almost always paves the way for a healthier future.  

How Does the Collaborative Divorce Process work?

The key ingredient of Collaborative Divorce is that the negotiation between the parties takes place in four-way meetings where both sides and their attorneys are present. The lawyers, who have training similar to mediators, work with you as their client and one another to assure a balanced process that’s active and productive. This process encourages creative problem solving and resolutions designed to meet the needs of all members of the family for a long time to come.  Therefore, reaching an equitable agreement often requires a team approach, with input from financial advisors and/or mental health professionals as well as child specialists and/or life coaches. The goal of the experts is to educate the parties and explore settlement options to meet the long-term needs of both parties and their children.  The make-up of the team is tailored to each case in the context of a cost/benefit analysis with the clients having the final decision.  Many cases only have one additional expert (e.g. financial neutral or child psychologist) while others may have several.  When there is agreement, a document is drafted by the lawyers, and reviewed and edited by you and your spouse until everyone is satisfied.

How Long does the Process last?

Some couples need a lot of time to complete the process, whereas others will reach solutions in a few meetings. Scheduled meetings with a firm agenda help the couple to conclude the process more quickly.  On average the Collaborative process lasts about six months, which is about the same as mediation and less than the litigation model.  That said, you may experience less or more depending upon a variety of factors that may or may not be present in your particular case.

How does the Collaborative Process compare to mediation and litigation?

The main difference between collaborative divorce and litigation is that in a collaborative divorce, both spouses (and their attorneys) sign an agreement that they will forego court proceedings.  This step memorializes and incentivizes the couple’s goal to dissolve their marriage with a practical, non-adversarial approach.  Disputes are resolved respectfully based on the ethical behavior of both parties. Although divorce is never pleasant, you can divorce with dignity.

While mediation is – on average – the least expensive approach it isn’t for everyone.  With the Collaborative model, each party has their attorney with them to assist in discussions, negotiations, and problem-solving. Many people are more comfortable with, or better served by having an attorney more engaged as compared to mediation.

Where can I find a list of experienced Collaboratively trained attorneys in Connecticut?

OFFICE LOCATIONS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Hartford

638 Prospect Ave., Hartford, CT 06105
intake@mcconnellfamilylaw.com
Tel: 860-266-1166

New Canaan

71 Elm St. #201, New Canaan, CT 06840
intake@mcconnellfamilylaw.com
Tel: 203-344-7007

New Haven

157 Church Street, New Haven, CT 06510
intake@mcconnellfamilylaw.com
Tel: 203-344-7762

By Appointment Only

Stamford, CT

Greenwich, CT

Shelton, CT

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