While relatively new in Indiana, the collaborative divorce process is sweeping the national and international legal community because of its effectiveness and peaceful nature. The core of the collaborative process is the agreement of both parties and their collaboratively trained attorneys that they will not use the judge or courts to resolve their disputes. Instead, the parties meet in a series of business meetings to discuss the issues presented in their case as they work toward a settlement agreement. This process allows the divorcing spouses to control the cost and schedule of their divorce process.
The collaborative process differs from family mediation in a few key ways. Mediation involves the use of a neutral third party who facilitates a settlement discussion. The collaborative divorce process maintains the commitment to settlement as the sole agenda, but each party has quality legal advice and advocacy at all times during the process. In addition, the collaborative process allows parties to communicate with one another directly in a controlled environment. This helps to facilitate communication skills which are necessary for a future co-parenting relationship.
Indiana attorneys who practice collaborative law have completed specific, intensive training to develop the skills to approach a case from a new perspective. A collaborative divorce attorney will focus less on ‘What would a judge do’ and more on ‘What is best for this family’ in an effort to create peaceful, respectful and workable solutions.
Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process which requires the agreement of both parties to engage in a peaceful and respectful discussion process to complete the divorce. In addition, former spouses who are already divorced can use the collaborative process to discuss changes to custody, parenting time, child support and other important child-related issues. Unmarried parents can benefit from the collaborative process as they practice the communication skills necessary to successfully co-parent.
Wanzer Edwards, PC attorney Holly J. Wanzer offers a two-day, interdisciplinary collaborative law basic training course. Local bar associations, collaborative practice groups or groups of interested attorneys, financial professionals and mental health professionals interested in hosting a training can learn more below.