Collaborative divorce is another way of divorcing and originates from the United States. With this method, the partners, their lawyers and other persons involved work together on a respectful divorce. Collaborative divorce lawyers work from a collaborative perspective, instead of a competitive perspective. They search for a suitable solution that benefits everyone. Collaborative divorce lawyers are specifically trained for this.
Frequently asked questions
Do you have any questions about a collaborative divorce? Please consult the list of frequently asked questions below. Is your question not listed? Then do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
What is collaborative divorce?
We want to separate but we are not married. Can we also have a collaborative divorce?
If there is a registered partnership, there will be matters to be dealt with that are similar to those in a marriage. A collaborative divorce is just as useful for a registered partnership. This can also be the case for cohabitation, certainly if there are children involved. It is also important in that case that custody, maintenance and the care arrangement are arranged to everyone's satisfaction without the children being adversely affected. Furthermore, a parenting plan is mandatory even if the parents are not married. If there are maintenance arrangements in the cohabitation contract, or if arrangements have been made regarding the division of assets or pensions in self-administration, it can be useful to engage a neutral financial expert.
Can I bring along my personal financial adviser or coach?
No. The collaborative divorce team consists of professionals who have been specifically trained for this purpose, who know the process and want to achieve the best result for both parties. Unless your adviser or coach is a recognised collaborative divorce professional and is also accepted by your partner, it is impossible to include these persons in the collaborative divorce team. Moreover, the relationship with the professionals must end once the divorce is a fact. Therefore, after the divorce you will no longer be able to engage the lawyer, the coach or the financial adviser who has assisted you during the collaborative divorce.
What if there are still matters left unresolved?
There is a small chance of this happening, because everyone at the table will do their utmost to prevent this situation. A messy divorce costs much more time, money and emotional upheaval: nobody wants that. In the unlikely event that the collaborative divorce does not succeed, both partners must engage another lawyer and must submit the (remaining) points of dispute to the court. Any financial experts involved must also withdraw at that point. None of that which has been discussed during the collaborative divorce will be used in any court proceedings.
How do I get my partner to participate?
This is sometimes a difficult matter. We will help you as much as possible to persuade your reluctant partner to participate in the proceedings.
Will a collaborative divorce also work if one of the spouses is still very angry?
Yes, because there is a coach and because there are individual lawyers. The partner’s anger will be heard, seen and accepted and this means that these emotions will form less of a barrier when searching for solutions. Emotions such as anger, sadness, powerlessness and uncertainty will be discussed in the preliminary process, so that the actual consultation will be less emotionally charged. Consequently, a collaborative divorce is a good way of separating.
Is a collaborative divorce much more expensive than mediation?
Any divorce involves costs. If there are two equal partners without children and there are no complicated financial discussions or arguments, these partners can usually suffice with mediation. Indeed, in such cases our professionals always advise mediation. However, if during the mediation process expert assistance is required, the costs can quickly rise to the level of costs of a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce the experts are involved from the beginning and they do not have to be informed of the course of events or of the stage of the process at a later date. This saves time and therefore money. Another advantage is that everyone can respond at an early stage to matters that crop up, as a result of which things do not escalate unnecessarily. The coach, who is the independent chairperson of the collaborative divorce team, will make sure that emotions that could prevent a successful solution by means of mediation are addressed in a timely manner. In addition, a collaborative divorce is also suitable for people who feel that one mediator can not properly represent both ex-partners whereas, with a collaborative divorce, each future ex-partner has their own lawyer present at the table.
Can we make different arrangements in a collaborative divorce than in a divorce through the courts?
Yes, many more arrangements can be made by agreement compared to divorce proceedings before a court. The courts only look at the rules and do not take individual wishes, worries, hopes, fears and interests into consideration.
What does this mean for our children?
Even though you are no longer partners, you are still parents. Your children will benefit from a calmer environment. If you go in search of solutions together in a respectful manner, you ensure that your children can return to their normal lives as soon as possible. With a collaborative divorce you do not have to fight legal actions over the heads of the children and you will not make the divorce unnecessarily harder for them than it already is.
What does collaborative divorce mean?
Meetings will be held with a team of both ex-partners, lawyers and experts, during which information will be exchanged. During these meetings you can express your needs and expectations. This method is clear, transparent and reasonable. It is important that all lines of communication stay open: the only way to resolve problem areas is to discuss them.
Are my chances of co-parenting greater with a collaborative divorce?
Definitely: with a collaborative divorce you will have the best chance to be the best parents for your child and to exercise joint parenting effectively; a transformation from partnership to parenthood. Do you want to divorce and you have children? Or are you not married and want to separate but you have children? In that case a collaborative divorce is a good option.