Many like the idea of a collaborative divorce. The term “collaborative” has a nice ring to it. Many also do not want their case decided by a judge in court. Thus, many look for a collaborative divorce lawyer when they are facing a divorce.
The reality is many lawyers have the term “collaborative divorce” on their webpage. They advertise broadly the idea of a collaborative divorce. This term can be used synonymously with an uncontested divorce or a non-contested divorce.
But an uncontested divorce or a non-contested divorce is not the same thing as a collaborative divorce. While both are largely attempts at settling short of a trial, the collaborative process is unique and different. These three terms (collaborative, uncontested and non-contested) are not one of the same. In fact, the collaborative process is entirely unique from a traditional uncontested or non-contested divorce.
The collaborative process is one that is spelled out by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Collaborative lawyers are also trained in collaborative practice. They receive forty hours of mediation training. They also have an additional sixteen hours of interdisciplinary training in collaborative practice.
So, while you can hire lots of attorneys to do an uncontested or non-contested divorce, you really should not hire just any attorney for a collaborative divorce. Here are some questions one might consider asking of prospective lawyers when one wants a collaborative divorce:
- Did you receive your forty hours of mediation training?
- Did you receive your sixteen hours of interdisciplinary training in collaborative practice?
- Are you a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals?
If the answers to all those questions are “yes,” for those looking for a collaborative divorce, this is a positive. On the other hand, if the answers are “no” to these questions, while the lawyer might be a good fit for an uncontested or non-contested divorce, they would not have the training for a collaborative divorce.
It’s important for any party who is looking for a collaborative divorce to seek out an attorney who has the training in the specific niche area of family law. These lawyers have taken the time to really understand the collaborative process.
Collaborative lawyers are also fully committed to trying to get cases settled because they are hired on a limited scope representation. This means they cannot litigate the case if the parties do not settle.