Robert B. Cherry, P.C., Esq.
195 Route 46 West, Suite 6
Totowa, NJ 07512
Phone: 973.785.1799
Fax: 973.785.4777 robert.cherry@juno.com

"Collaborative Divorce is a revolutionary new process that brings the best of legal, personal, and financial wisdom to the process of separation and divorce in a humane and cost-effective fashion that protects the dignity, integrity and long-term best interests of all family members."

Collaborative Divorce

Overview of Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Law, Collaborative Process, and Collaborative Divorce are terms often used interchangeably. However, they are all components of Collaborative Practice, which includes:

Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and Divorce Mediation

In Divorce Mediation, an impartial third party, the Mediator, facilitates the negotiations of the disputing parties and tries to help them settle their case. The Mediator, however, cannot give either party legal advice, and cannot be an advocate for either side.

Collaborative Divorce was designed to allow clients to have their lawyers with them during the negotiation process.  It is the job of the lawyers, who have received training similar to the training that Mediators receive in interest-based negotiation, to work with their own clients and one another to assure that the process stays balanced, positive and productive.

Both Collaborative Divorce and Divorce Mediation rely on the voluntary and free exchange of information and a commitment to resolutions that respect the parties' shared goals. Professional advice should be sought when deciding whether Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce is the best process for any individual case.

What is a Collaborative Team?

The premise of the "collaborative team" is that parties and their chosen professionals act as a problem-solving team rather than as adversaries. A collaborative team can be any combination of professionals that the parties choose to work with to resolve their dispute.

What is an Interdisciplinary Team Model?

The interdisciplinary collaborative team model is a multi-disciplinary team approach to dispute resolution in separation and divorce, which includes attorneys, coaches, a financial specialist, and when there are minor children, a child specialist working interactively as co-equals. Professionals on the team all subscribe to the same core values and shared beliefs, that none of the team members will be involved in any court process concerning a shared case, and all members will withdraw from the case if it becomes a court process.

This integrated model provides the couple with the services they need from the professional most qualified to address each of the complex and varied issues of divorce. Working together, these Collaborative professionals help divorcing couples achieve an outcome that would not be possible without this cooperative team involvement.

Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and Conventional Divorce

In conventional divorce, one spouse sues the other for divorce and sets in motion a series of legal steps. These eventually result in a settlement achieved with the involvement of the court. Unfortunately, spouses going through a conventional divorce can come to view each other as adversaries, and their divorce as a battleground. The ensuing conflicts can take an immense toll on the emotions of all the participants, especially the children.

Collaborative Divorce, by definition, is a non-adversarial approach to divorce. The spouses—and their lawyers—pledge in writing not to go to court. They negotiate in good faith, and achieve a mutually-agreed upon settlement outside of court. The cooperative nature of Collaborative Divorce can greatly ease the emotional strain caused by the breakup of a relationship, and protect the well-being of children.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

When a couple decides to pursue a Collaborative Practice divorce, they each hire Collaborative Practice lawyers. All of the parties agree in writing not to go to court. Then, the spouses meet both privately with their lawyers and in face-to-face discussions. Additional experts, such as divorce coaches and child and financial specialists, may join the process, or in many cases, be the first professional that a client sees.

These sessions between spouses and their counselors are intended to produce an honest exchange of information and expression of needs and expectations. The well-being of any children is especially addressed. Mutual problem-solving by all the parties leads to the final divorce agreement.