The Union shows the growing trend toward collaborative divorce.
Janet Harley writes (excerpt):
Parents who still must raise their children together are unable to look at each other, much less talk to each other. Those of us working in the field know that the courtroom is not the best place to resolve the custody and financial issues of a divorce. Everyone suffers in the process, particularly young families with children.
It works like this: The parties, their lawyers, mental health and financial advisors sign a pledge not to litigate in court. If either party backs out, all of the professionals must resign. All of the discussions remain confidential as settlement negotiations and may not be used in family court. None of the professionals involved may be called as witnesses in family court.
One complaint we hear from opponents is that forcing the professionals to bow out if negotiations fall apart makes no sense. However, it is the collaborative commitment that makes the process work. If a couple does decide to go to court, even though they must find new counsel, they will be far ahead in the process because they can take the discovery part of the case with them.