Collaborative divorce enables couples who have decided to dissolve their marriage to work with their respective attorneys in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without litigation. The two questions most commonly asked about the collaborative divorce process are: 1) “What are the advantages of the collaborative divorce over a traditional litigation?”; and 2) “Is collaborative divorce more or less expensive than traditional litigation?”
“The first advantage of collaborative divorce is increased privacy for the family,” said family law attorney Nathalie C. Elliott in a NALA NASS segment. “Through the collaborative divorce process, the collaborative team, which consists of two collaboratively trained divorce lawyers, a certified financial planner who serves as a financial neutral to both parties and a mental health professional who serves as a collaborative coach and child specialist for both parties, use their unique skills to help the family thoughtfully explore all options for resolution and select the best plan for their family.”
Furthermore, the collaborative divorce process is often less expensive than traditional litigation. In traditional litigation, it is necessary to engage in formal discovery where each lawyer is entitled to ask for specific information, primarily financial, which is analyzed and used to prepare for litigation as well as for settlement negotiations.
In the collaborative divorce model, both parties work directly with a financial neutral whose hourly rate is typically much less than a lawyer’s. Similarly, the mental health professional has skills separate and apart from the lawyer’s to assist the family in arriving at the best possible parenting plan for their children. Typically, the mental health professional’s hourly rate is also less than the lawyer’s, which represents another savings.
“Every family is unique, and the collaborative divorce model allows us to craft a financial settlement and a parenting plan to best serve the family,” concluded Elliott. “Many families find that as their families grow and new issues arise, they enjoy the luxury of returning to the collaborative process to make changes to their parenting plan in the future in order to always best serve their children’s best interests.”
About Nathalie C. Elliott, Levy Craig Law Firm
Nathalie C. Elliott dedicates her practice exclusively to family law, and is one of a small number of attorneys in the Kansas City area who regularly practices collaborative divorce for people who wish to resolve their family law matters outside of litigation. In addition to family law, the Levy Craig Law Firm focuses on corporate law services, insurance cases, litigation, mergers and acquisition, taxation and trust and estates. For more information, please call (816) 414-2592, or visit http://www.levycraig.com.
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