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What do you need to do to use collaborative divorce?

When you and your spouse first married, you were more than likely deeply in love. For years, that may have been enough to keep you together -- until it wasn't. The two of you agree that you fell out of love and that your relationship reached its end. Neither of you hold any animosity toward the other, but you still have to go through the divorce process.

You decide that the traditional courtroom drama just isn't for you. You have no use for the adversarial and contentious atmosphere it can create, especially if you have children. You discovered that you could use the collaborative divorce process. From what you understand, this method provides a calmer and more amicable atmosphere, which appeals to you and your spouse, but you still have questions about it.

Do we need an attorney?

Actually, each of you needs your own Minnesota attorney. However, in a collaborative divorce, it's essential that you choose one who supports your choice to use collaborative law. As part of the process, your attorney agrees to represent you through this process only. Should you and your spouse decide to go to court, you need to hire another attorney. This ensures that you and your attorney commit to the process.

Before sitting down with your attorney, your spouse and your spouse's attorney, talk to your attorney privately. Let him or her know what you expect, where you will compromise and where you won't. This helps your attorney provide you with the appropriate advice, along with your legal rights.

I heard we can work with other professionals, too

Yes. As part of the collaborative process, you may enlist the services of third parties such as accountants, appraisers and even counselors. These individuals can provide you and your spouse with much needed information and ideas as you negotiate your divorce settlement. Counselors can prove especially useful when working on a parenting plan if you have children. The important part is that these third parties remain neutral and provide you with unbiased opinions.

The meetings

During the meetings with you, your spouse and both attorneys, you are encouraged to listen to each other, cooperate and compromise if needed. One of the main benefits of this process is that it allows you and your spouse to retain control over your settlement and your future. The courts often must work within certain parameters and can't be as creative as you can be in this setting. By the time you finish, your divorce settlement should be tailored to the needs of your family. Each of you should be satisfied with the outcome.

 

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