24 Feb

What are the benefits of the collaborative process?

Unlike litigation, the collaborative process allows the parties to maintain control of the ultimate outcome of the dispute, while encouraging open communication and the sharing of all pertinent information. Voluntary sharing of information saves time and money, as compared to the formal discovery process used to obtain information in litigation. The collaborative process also allows

24 Feb

Who is a good candidate for the collaborative process? Are there any reasons why it might NOT be a good fit for my situation?

Just because a situation involves intense disagreement on certain issues, that does not mean that the collaborative approach is not appropriate. Collaborative professionals are trained to manage high-conflict situations. Anyone who has a divorce, child custody dispute, spousal or child support dispute, or faces a proposed modification or enforcement action with regard to an already-existing

24 Feb

What if we can’t agree?

If parties in the collaborative process become “stuck” on one or more issues, it is often possible to reach a written agreement on some issues and only submit the remaining ones to resolution by the court. Because of the flexibility and nearly limitless options available in the collaborative process but not available in litigation, most

24 Feb

How long does the process take?

In Virginia, spouses with children under the age of 18 must live separately for a full year before they can file for a no-fault divorce, even if they have a written agreement resolving all issues of property distribution, debt division, parenting, and support. Spouses without children may file for a no-fault divorce after six months

24 Feb

Is the collaborative process only used for divorces?

Not at all. The collaborative process is also useful in child custody and visitation cases, support cases, and nearly any other case involving disputes between family members.

24 Feb

Can the two of us use just one lawyer together?

No. Each party must have independent legal counsel whose role it is to advocate for and represent the interests of the individual client. Because the parties’ goals and interests may at times conflict, it would be unethical for one attorney to represent both parties.

24 Feb

Are the coaches our therapists? What about the child specialist?

Communication coaches do not serve as therapists for the parties. Their role is to assist the client through the collaborative process and to help the parties communicate more productively. Child specialists, likewise, are not child therapists in the collaborative process. The role of the child specialist is to assist the parties with questions regarding how

24 Feb

How do we make changes to an agreement in the future, or enforce it if the other participant violates the terms of the agreement?

Most agreements reached through the collaborative process will contain a provision requiring the parties to reconvene a collaborative session if future disputes arise. If the attempt to resume the collaborative process does not succeed, then, assuming the collaborative agreement has been incorporated into a court order, traditional enforcement and modification methods remain available through the

24 Feb

What is the fee structure?

Each professional sets his or her own retainer fee and hourly rate, and each professional is paid separately. The collaborative participation agreement will make clear that payment of the professionals is a contractual obligation, and each professional will have his or her own fee agreement for the parties to sign.