Collaborative Law is an ideal choice when trust is high and the parties are able to commuicate successfully. There are times, however, when try as they might the parties just cannot agree on certain issues and court may become necessary.

In such cases, many clients are often "bonded" to their lawyers in a relationship of trust and do not want to lose them and start all over. They are also fearful of the increased cost of starting from scratch with someone else.

For these situations, Cooperative Divorce may be the solution. Cooperative Divorce was founded by a group of lawyers in Wisconsin. It is a principles based process of handling divorce which is settlement-based, but leaves open the possibility of litigation if - and only if - absolutely necessary. Essentially, it offers all the benefits of collaborative law, such as:

  • Sets a framework for settlement
  • Reassures clients that attorneys will try to settle the case
  • Minimizes inefficiency and unnecessary costs
  • Promotes Cooperative Coparenting
  • Fosters Civility and Respect

Both parties and attorneys commit in good faith to do the following:

  • Cooperate by acting civilly at all times and by responding promptly to all reasonable requests for information from the other party.
  • Cooperate by fully disclosing all relevant financial information.
  • Cooperate by obtaining joint appraisals and/or other expert opinions before obtaining individual appraisals or expert opinions.
  • Cooperate by obtaining meaningful expert input (e.g., a child specialist) before requesting a custody study or the appointment of a guardian ad litem
  • Cooperate in good faith negotiation sessions, including 4-way sessions where appropriate, to reach fair compromises based on valid information.
  • Cooperate by conducting themselves at all times in a respectful, civil and professional manner.

The fact that lawyers begin with this proactive and positive mindset may bridge the gap for those clients who want the benefits of collaborative, but just can't bear to give up the option of going to court with their lawyer if needed.

Information courtesy of The Divorce Cooperation Institute in Wisconsin.