Collaborative Divorce FAQs

Collaborative Divorce is still a newer divorce option in the divorce market, and many clients wonder how they will develop win-win solutions for their divorce with the help of a collaborative attorney. We’ll cover Frequently Asked Questions in this week’s blog.

1.   Why Should I Hire a Collaborative Divorce Attorney?

A Collaborative Divorce attorney has specialized training in the collaborative process. Elizabeth is the current President of Collaborative Practice Kansas City, a network of divorce attorneys, financial neutrals, and divorce coaches committed to offering parties the guidance, support, and expertise to resolve all issues surrounding their divorce outside a courtroom. The members of the collaborative practice network have significant experience working with families utilizing the collaborative model.

Because Collaborative Divorce does not involve going to court, the spouses and their attorneys do not have to accommodate the court’s schedule or timeline. Instead, we can schedule mutually convenient times to meet that work with other obligations, such as employment and childcare.

Additionally, the collaborative method allows for privacy. There is no “open seating” in our meetings like in a traditional courtroom. It is the most child-friendly divorce option, with the benefits of less stress and hostility pouring over into the home life and children

2.   Will I Still Have To Go To Court

No. Our streamlined process means that once we have drafted your divorce settlement, we will file the necessary paperwork to finalize your divorce. Because we offer virtual signing and filing, you never need to go to court

3.   What is Collaborative Divorce?

You do not have a single attorney but an entire team advocating for your best outcome. The Collaborative team includes you and your spouse, two collaboratively trained divorce lawyers, a divorce coach, and a financial neutral.

The goal of Collaborative Divorce is to guide you and your spouse through the division of assets/debts, create a parenting plan for children, and determine any future financial arrangements that must be made. The setting is safe and structured, and transparency and integrity are vital to a smooth and peaceful divorce process.

4.   How Long Until My Divorce Is Final

On average, The Hill Law Firm, P.C.’s clients usually take 3-6 months for the total divorce process through the collaborative divorce process versus a traditional divorce which can take up to 12 months or longer. In Kansas, the law requires a minimum sixty (60) day waiting period before a judge can grant a divorce decree. In Missouri, the mandatory waiting period is thirty (30) days. Divorce is a very personal process, and the amount of time spent working towards an acceptable outcome is different for each couple.

5.   If a Judge is Not Involved, Who Will Make the Decisions

In Collaborative Divorce, the couple controls every aspect of the divorce process, including how slowly or quickly decisions are made when the divorce petition is filed and what terms will be outlined in the settlement agreement. However, once an agreement is reached and all the settlement documents are filed with the court, the Judge assigned to the case must review and find the agreement to be equitable before granting the divorce

6.   Will I Be Legally Represented

Yes, each spouse has a divorce attorney during the Collaborative process. Your collaborative divorce attorney will provide you with legal information to help you make decisions about what you think is fair and will provide legal advice before drafting the settlement agreement, and your spouse’s collaborative attorney will do the same for him or her

7.   What If My Situation Is Too Complex for Collaborative Divorce, Owning a Business Together or Managing Multiple Properties, For Example? Does Collaborative Divorce Only Work For “Simple” Divorces?

With her years of expertise, Elizabeth says the collaborative process can work for any couple, no matter how complicated their situation may be, who is willing to: 
  • Work together towards defining the outcome of your divorce.
  • Listen to each other’s points of view, goals, and interests.
  • Both agree to keep the divorce proceedings out of the courtroom.

8.   How Do I Prepare for My Collaborative Divorce Sessions?

If your spouse is unfamiliar with the collaborative method, review your reasons for wanting to participate and be prepared to share them with your spouse. Focus on discussing the collaborative process rather than actual settlement proposals.
If you have children, arrange for the children to stay with someone during and after the meetings so each parent has time to decompress without the children present. 

9.   Why Do I Need a Financial Neutral?

A financial neutral sometimes referred to as a financial specialist or financial coach, is available for all our collaborative divorce clients. The financial neutral will be able to answer questions from our clients regarding their financial matters. The financial neutral also works to collect financial documents and generate reports to help our clients make informed decisions. Depending on the complexity of your case, you will have peace of mind knowing that your settlement is equitable. 

10.  What Else Can I Do To Make My Divorce A Success? 

  • Attend all required coaching meetings.
  • Stick to temporary agreements that are made during the collaborative meetings.
  • Pace yourself and be patient! – While most clients want their divorce to be finalized as quickly as possible, remember that we are creating solutions to last for many years, and sometimes that does mean putting in more time for brainstorming or discussing options before making decisions. 
If you are in the Kansas City area and believe collaborative divorce might be the best option for you, contact me, Elizabeth Hill, today to schedule a consultation, or feel free to call me at (913) 381-1500 with any questions you have regarding the collaborative divorce model, your peaceful divorce alternative.