Collaborative Divorce

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial approach to a divorce. You and your lawyers pledge in writing not to go to court. You negotiate in good faith, and work together to achieve a mutual settlement outside the courts.

Is Collaborative Divorce mandatory?

No, Collaborative Divorce is completely voluntary.

Do I need an attorney for a Collaborative Divorce?

Yes, both parties must be represented by an attorney who has Collaborative training.

What are the benefits of Collaborative Divorce?

  • Effect on Family: Relationships are preserved by respectful mutual problem solving.
  • Less Adversity: Spouses and attorneys pledge to act with mutual respect and transparency.
  • Timing: Spouses control the timing of the divorce and are not dictated by court deadlines.
  • Communication: Spouses are encouraged to communicate directly with the assistance of their attorneys.
  • Court Involvement: Court involvement is limited to approval of a final decree which meets the requirements of Iowa law.
  • Privacy: The divorce and all negotiations are private until finalized.
  • Outside Experts: Spouses jointly retain outside experts to provide information and guidance on a variety of matters so that both spouses can develop informed and mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Cost: The expenses of a divorce are more manageable and predictable, the collaborative process is usually less expensive than litigation.

What are the steps of a Collaborative Divorce?

First, both parties hire collaborative trained attorneys and sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter. The parties and attorneys agree to treat each other with respect and dignity. The parties and attorneys engage in four-way meetings where relevant and material information is voluntarily exchanged between the parties. The parties use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement which is presented to the Court for approval. Outside experts, such as child specialists, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and any other experts that are needed, are jointly engaged by the parties. The collaborative process terminates upon the commencement of any contested court proceeding, at which time, both collaborative attorneys are disqualified and must withdraw from representation. The parties proceed with litigation with the assistance of new attorneys.