Author: Jill Lowe

What is a Cooperative Divorce, Amicable Divorce, and Civil Divorce?

Have you ever heard of a cooperative divorce, amicable divorce, or civil divorce?  I am pretty sure almost everyone has heard of those types of divorces.  But what do they all really mean?  What is a cooperative divorce, amicable divorce, civil divorce?  How is a cooperative divorce, amicable divorce, civil divorce different from a collaborative divorce?

Type of Divorce:  A cooperative divorce, amicable divorce, and civil divorce are all the same type of divorce.  It is an attitude and approach each spouse takes in the divorce.  They want to cooperate by exchanging information and not play games.  It also means they want to find a way to resolve the issues to keep the costs down and emotions down.  These types of divorces also mean the spouses want to treat each other civilly, not in a nasty tone.  It is the mindset and approach each spouse and his or her attorney takes in the case.  Working together for the outcome.

Informal Understanding:  A cooperative divorce, amicable divorce, and civil divorce is when the spouses have an informal understanding of how they would like to handle their divorce.  Did you catch that…informal understanding!  This informal understanding is not legally binding, and either spouse can change his or her mind at any time about how they would like to handle the divorce.  Which means in the middle of the divorce, one spouse might decide to go in a different direction and the case becomes nasty.  When a spouse changes his or her mind and no longer wants a cooperative, amicable, or civil divorce; the other spouse is stuck.  There is nothing the other spouse can do to stop the change.

Litigation Process:  A cooperative divorce, amicable divorce, and civil divorce are all in the litigation process.  There is no separate process for those types of divorces and the court does not stay the pending case to see if the spouses are able to resolve the issues in the cooperative, amicable, or civil divorce.  There are still deadlines, and the court may require status conferences to move the case forward.  The court can also schedule a trial and require the spouses to attend mediation.

Not Collaborative Divorce:  A cooperative divorce, amicable divorce, and civil divorce are not a collaborative divorce.  Unlike those types of divorces, a collaborative divorce is a separate legal process, out of court.  The court stays the pending case to allow the parties to participate in the collaborative process.  There is a formal understanding which is set forth in a participation agreement.  The attorneys and other professionals on the team are constantly working together to bring a resolution.  Conflict is managed and each spouse (and members of the team) are held accountable to one another.

Consider choosing a collaborative divorce over a cooperative, amicable, or civil divorce!  Learn more about the collaborative process on our website.

 

Is a Collaborative Divorce Mediation?

When explaining collaborative divorce, I am often asked if collaborative divorce is the same as mediation.  The answer is simple: No.  A collaborative divorce is not mediation.

Mediation is part of a larger process.  In litigation cases, the parties are required to attend mediation before trial.  The parties don’t have a choice in the litigation process.  They must go to mediation if ordered by the Judge. In some collaborative divorce cases, the parties may agree to attend mediation.  Attending mediation in a collaborative divorce may be useful if the parties are deadlocked.  In both the litigation process and collaborative process, mediation is a small part of those processes.

The collaborative divorce is a structured, formal process. Unlike mediation where the parties meet once, in a collaborative divorce there are a series of structured meetings.  Meetings are organized and an agenda is followed.  Usually there are roughly 4-5 meetings conducted over a few months.

The mediator is in control during the mediation, but in the collaborative process the parties are in control. In a collaborative divorce, the parties’ control what issues are discussed, and they control other aspects of the process.  The parties decide when they are ready to settle and when the process terminates.  In the mediation process, the mediator controls the process and controls how much time he or she spends with each side and the mediator can terminate the process.

A team of professionals is assembled in a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, a team is assembled.  The team includes attorneys and a neutral financial professional and a neutral mental health professional.  These professionals work together as a team to facilitate a resolution of the divorce.

There are many differences between a collaborative divorce and mediation.  Visit our website to learn more about a collaborative divorce.

Teamwork!

Who wouldn’t want to be part of a team or better yet to have a team of professionals working with you during the divorce process?  It is possible, but only through the collaborative divorce process.  

Unlike litigation, the collaborative divorce process takes place outside of the courtroom, the parties make the decisions, the team works together, and the outcome is crafted by the parties.  The collaborative divorce process focuses on the present and future, not the past.  We discuss the parties’ goals and interests, create options for settlement, and have the opportunity to be creative.  Divorce doesn’t have to be a fight or a war.  The parties can come out of the divorce as friends, loving their children, and united.  

Don’t let a divorce tear apart the family.  There is a better way, a better option.  Collaborative divorce! 

Can forgiveness change the divorce?

Forgiveness. It is a word many of us struggle with. What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process a victim undergoes to change feelings and attitude and overcome negative emotions. 

Forgiveness is not for the other person, but for the person forgiving. In fact, the person who is forgiven does not even need to know. A conversation with the other person or sending a statement or a text message is not necessary. It is simply a change in the emotions and mental state and perspective of the person forgiving. It is to free the person forgiving from feeling anger or resentment or bitterness. Those negative feelings are then replaced with peace and joy. 

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