Collaborative Divorce

Randall Pitler is currently serving as President of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan

Collaborative Divorce is for divorcing couples who want legal representation, but would like to avoid litigation. The parties and their attorneys agree, in writing, to complete the divorce amicably. The attorneys assist the parties in resolving the issues in the divorce cooperatively instead of litigating. The parties agree to voluntarily exchange information and all negotiations are completed in meetings with the parties and their attorneys.

A key component of a Collaborative Divorce is the agreement not to litigate. If one the parties decide to go to court, both attorneys are required to withdraw from the case. This provides an incentive for the parties to stay at the negotiating table and prevents the attorneys from intentionally disrupting the negotiations to increase the legal fees.

Another advantage of Collaborative Divorce is the use of other professionals. In southeast Michigan, we utilize divorce coaches (therapists and/or psychologists) to assist the parties in managing the emotional issues related to the divorce and to coach them through the process. A financial coach may be utilized to help the parties prepare budgets, to run retirement projections and to help develop financial solutions. The parties may also agree to retain a neutral financial professional to evaluate business or other assets.

Collaborative Divorce is a unique process where the attorneys function more as advisers than advocates. To increase the likelihood of success, make sure that all professionals retained in your case have completed a certification process through the International Academy of Collaborative Practitioners. Unfortunately, many litigators claim they will work “collaboratively,” but ultimately end up litigating in a conference room, resulting in a worse experience for the parties.