Richmond Collaborative Divorce
Family law cases have unique challenges. Studies show that going through a divorce or a custody dispute ranks among the top ten most stressful events that a person can experience. Being in litigation certainly heightens such stress. When parties choose Collaborative Law to resolve their conflicts, they are choosing to take control of the process: the pace at which it moves forward; the way the decisions are made; the people who are making the decisions; and the decisions themselves. At the beginning of the process the parties agree in writing that they will not go to court; that they will voluntarily disclose to the other all relevant information whether requested or not; that they will treat each other respectfully; that they will maintain a certain level of confidentiality; and that critical information will be shared among the parties and their attorneys in a series of meetings. Each party must be represented by a collaboratively trained attorney, and the attorneys will typically recommend that the team include other collaboratively trained professionals. Collaboratively trained mental health professionals are called coaches or child specialists, and they assist with communication and the development of an effective parenting plan. A collaboratively trained financial professional gathers financial information; prepares budgets; and works with the parties and the attorneys to make complex money issues less complex. The goal of each collaborative case is to reach a durable agreement, and once reached, such an agreement is as enforceable as any other properly executed agreement.