You, or maybe your spouse, or both, have just made the first decision, so often difficult and contentious, to terminate your marriage. The second most important decision that needs to be made is which process will be used to accomplish the termination. Filing for divorce should be the last process you should consider because you have options other than a lengthy, expensive, contested, litigated divorce case through the court system. One option that has been growing in popularity is the Collaborative Family Law Process (as it is known in Ohio).
What is the Collaborative Family Law Process?
In simple terms, it is typically a team process that assists you and your family in the transition from a single home to a two home family. The goals of the team are two fold – to determine each party’s interest and goals and to utilize the professionals on the team to assist the parties in meeting those interests and goals through an agreement that benefits the family.
Who are the Collaborative Team Members?
Each party has an attorney to guide them through the process and provide advice. Mental health professionals fill several roles: as a neutral team member, they assist in developing parenting plans, assist in communication challenges, and conduct the team meetings; they may also be involved as a non-neutral “coach” to assist a party through the emotional struggles during the process. And a neutral financial professional assists the parties in gathering, analyzing and evaluating financial information necessary for the parties to be able to make decisions regarding their property, debts, and cash flow.
How do I start the Collaborative Family Law Process?
You should schedule an appointment with a collaborative attorney to discuss all of your options and whether you want to maintain control over the decisions that need to be made or relinquish that control to a judge or magistrate. Filing a divorce case in court is not your only option.