Collaborative Divorce: Revolutionizing the Way Divorces Are Handled

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A new paradigm is needed for the way family law is practiced in Michigan, and a new method called Collaborative Divorce is leading the way.

Divorce is a life-changing event. A select group of attorneys can now offer a better way to end a marriage through specialized advanced training in Collaborative Divorce. This groundbreaking method revolutionizes the way couples divorce. It addresses your legal, financial, and emotional needs and achieves the best family arrangement possible. Families at war produce only losers and no winners. This exciting new process empowers you - not lawyers or a judge - to shape the outcome of your divorce.

The key benefits of Collaborative Divorce are that it is non-adversarial; solutions can be tailor-made and flexible; clients have control of the pace; experts (accountants, financial advisers, therapists or counselors) can be brought in and work with the couples; and privacy is preserved.

"I believe that Collaborative Divorce is the most exciting development in family law in many, many years. Clients love it; they regard the process as direct, clear and amicable while avoiding the expenses and latent aggression of the court process." Says Lori D. Becker, Bloomfield Hills Divorce Attorney and Mediator.

Each spouse retains their own specially trained collaborative lawyer, if they wish to achieve the many benefits of collaborative divorce. Traditional lawyers, no matter how friendly or cooperative, lack the special skills and training those collaborative lawyers can provide.

Becker is one of the few Michigan divorce attorneys trained in Collaborative Divorce, in which both spouses' divorce attorneys negotiate a settlement outside of court - with a written agreement not to litigate.
"It's a healthier way to help families," says Becker. " Collaborative Divorce is a holistic approach to family law. Attorneys trained in this method are highly skilled not only in family law, but in effective communication, cooperative negotiation, and creative problem-solving. With a Collaborative Divorce, you get a plan on how to handle future issues."

Working with a team of caring specialists that includes two lawyers, two coaches, a financial consultant, and a child specialist (if necessary), you and your spouse focus on building a consensus that addresses the needs of everyone who will be directly affected by the divorce.Every divorce involves a complex intertwining of emotional, financial and legal issues that no single professional has the range of skills to address comprehensively. When you have the right team member available to help solve the problem, it usually gets solved more quickly and economically and at a higher level of sophistication. You're less likely to return again and again to court to rehash problems that weren't really resolved in the first place. That's why -- paradoxically -- a team generally costs a couple less, not more. "Through divorce coaching, I have seen dramatic improvement in the way couples communicate - even in the most contentious cases" states Dr. Nancy Fishman, a Birmingham Mental Health Specialist. "For example, if one of you is frightened or angry, instead of going to the divorce lawyer, you'll spend a few sessions in coaching and then come back to the legal negotiating table much better equipped to think clearly and negotiate for long-term lasting resolution. You spend only what is needed for the right kind of constructive help to solve the problem. It can be instrumental in keeping the legal fees from escalating."


People need to be educated about conflict - specifically, avoiding it when appropriate, using the energy in a more constructive way, and saving the courtroom only for truly immovable, conflicted cases. Collaborative Divorce specialists create long-term financial and parenting plans that work by enabling their clients to understand and address their children's needs while conserving emotional and financial resources, and by helping clients play an active role in designing their lives after divorce. Cutting corners in how you meet the challenges of divorce may be the most expensive thing you can do.

For more information on Collaborative Divorce, please visit the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan at www.CollaborativePracticeMI.org

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