Schedule a consultation with Morris County Divorce Lawyer, Patricia Carney, Esq.

What is Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process that combines the benefits of mediation with the security of focused representation by collaboratively trained counsel for each party. The approach emphasizes negotiation and settlement by encouraging the parties to exercise the right of self-determination to reach an amicable settlement. Unlike a litigated divorce, a collaborative divorce gives the parties control of when, where, how often and how long they need to meet to resolve the issues. The negotiations take place in the private setting of a conference room. The win-lose mentality of litigation is replaced with collaborative professionals working with the parties to craft mutually beneficial solutions for the parties and their children.

Collaborative divorce allows for an interdisciplinary approach so other collaboratively trained professionals may be added to the collaborative team, as needed, to help address unique issues and concerns. These professionals may include divorce coaches, child specialists, financial advisors, forensic accountants or other experts. The divorce coach helps the parties to deal with the emotional impact of the divorce. The child specialist is the voice of the children and helps the parties understand the needs and concerns of children. The financial professionals help parties understand the various financial aspects of a case, including budget analysis, asset division the impact on cash flow, and the valuation of assets. The collaborative divorce professionals work with the parties to develop creative mutually beneficial solutions.

Collaborative divorce is distinguished from other forms of alternative dispute resolution in that the parties and their counsel enter into a contract known as the participation agreement, committing to resolve the issues fairly and equitably without resorting to costly and contentious litigation. If either party decides to initiate litigation at any time rather than reach a negotiated settlement, the attorneys must remove themselves from the process and the collaborative divorce contract will be terminated.

Ms. Carney has successfully completed the requisite training required by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and is an accredited professional mediator fully meeting the requirements of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators. Ms. Carney also serves as a frequent lecturer on developments in Collaborative Divorce and Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce over Litigated Divorce

  • Encourages cooperation and rather than creating conflict between the parties.
  • Reduces emotional turmoil and stress instead of exacerbating painful emotions.
  • Enables parties to negotiate their own agreement with the help of lawyers rather than judges deciding for them.
  • Allows mental health and financial professionals to work together and not assume adversarial positions.
  • Provides for negotiations conducted in a dignified manner and not lawyers and their clients taking adversarial positions and battling against each other.
  • Offers a relaxed, non-confrontational setting which fosters innovative solutions rather than crowded courtrooms leading to imposed and unwanted outcomes.
  • Maintains confidentiality of personal and financial information rather than such information becoming matters of public record.
  • Saves time and avoids the lengthy delays of prolonged litigation.
  • Saves money and avoids the high cost of litigation.
  • The process is flexible and proceeds on agreed upon timetable rather than on court-imposed deadlines.
  • Empowers couples to determine their own futures and avoids pressure to settle on the eve of trial.
  • Allows couples to decide what is in the best interest of their children rather than a determination being made by a judge.
  • Allows couples to heal and move forward rather than creating strained relations between family members.
  • How is Collaborative Divorce Similar to Mediation?

  • It is a less confrontational, respectful and affordable alternative to divorce litigation.
  • It is a faster way to resolve the matter and avoid protracted litigation.
  • It encourages cooperation and reduces conflict between the parties.
  • The process reduces the anxiety and stress associated with marital disputes.
  • The parties negotiate in a private, relaxed, non-confrontational setting rather than assume adversarial positions in court.
  • It requires full disclosure of all relevant financial information.
  • The parties control the timing of the process.
  • The parties play an active role in determining the outcome rather than a judge deciding what is best for the family.
  • It allows for creative solutions. Focusing on interest based negotiations rather than positional bargaining.
  • How is Collaborative Divorce Different from Mediation?

  • In collaborative divorce, the parties are represented by counsel
  • In collaborative divorce, the parties are represented by counsel during the negotiations.
  • In collaborative divorce, mental health and financial professionals may become part of the team.
  • In collaborative divorce, there is a contractual commitment by the parties and all professionals involved not to litigate.
  • In collaborative divorce, once agreement is reached and signed by the parties, the agreement is binding.
  • In collaborative divorce, legal counsel will be disqualified if either party withdraws from the process and decides to litigate.
  • Schedule A Consultation

    Take The Next Step

    Contact our office at 973-425-9001 or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation to determine whether this approach is appropriate for you or whether another alternative dispute resolution method is better suited to your particular needs and circumstances.  Patricia E. Carney.Esq. can provide you with the information necessary for you to make an informed decision about what is best for you and your family.