111What is Collaborative Practice?
In Collaborative Practice, couples who have decided to end their marriage work with a team of specially trained professionals to avoid the arbitrary and uncertain outcomes of litigation and achieve a divorce settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children. This process is less costly financially and emotionally than a traditional litigation process.
How does Collaborative Practice work?
Collaborative Practice uses informal discussions and conferences attended by spouses, the collaborative attorneys, and other collaborative team members, to settle the issues at times and locations convenient for everyone. Major goals of the Collaborative Practice process include maximizing settlement options for the benefit of both parties and their children, and to minimize or eliminate the negative economic, social and emotional consequences of litigation.
There are five main aspects of Collaborative Practice:
- Open Exchange of Information – In Collaborative Practice all of the participants agree to an open, honestexchange of accurate information and necessary documentation. This process is essential so that neitherspouse/domestic partner takes advantage of the miscalculations or inadvertent mistakes of others, but instead identifies and corrects them. This informal exchange of information is less expensive than the formal discovery methods used in a litigation case.
- Custody – In Collaborative Practice the spouses agree to protect their children and not involve them in court disputes.The use of a child specialist and divorce coaches helps the parents reach a mutually beneficial co-parenting agreement. This process is respectful and nurturing to the children and keeps them out of the conflict of a court battle.
- Joint Experts – In Collaborative Practice, the spouses jointly choose and employ the services of a joint neutral accountant,appraiser, child specialist, or other consultant whose services may be required, instead of each hiringhis or her own adversarial expert. This is much less expensive than using separate experts and litigating the different opinions.
- Negotiations – In Collaborative Practice, the spouses acknowledge each other’s legitimate needs and worktogether creatively for their mutual benefit, instead of striving for individual advantages.
- Attorney’s Role – In Collaborative Practice the attorneys are committed to the cooperative collaborative resolution of allissues. A Collaborative Practice attorney will withdraw from participation if his or her client abandonsthe collaborative process or refuses to follow collaborative guidelines.
- Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group (SCPG) – There are over 100 professionals in the SCPG. Carol F. Delzer was one of the co-founding attorneys of the SCPG in 1998 and has been actively representing clients in her Collaborative Practice since its origination.
Contact Carol Delzer to learn more about Collaborative Practice.