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Q: What role does a Financial Professional play in Collaborative Divorce?
A: The Collaborative Financial Professional is a person with one or more financial certifications who acts as a neutral expert. He or she assists the parties in gathering and understanding relevant financial information (assets, debts, income, expenses). This includes how various scenarios for child support, alimony, and property division would play out over time.
Q: Which is better, Collaborative or Mediation?
A: These are both excellent ways of settling disputes. The real question is, what method would work best in your case? In mediation, the parties work with a neutral mediator who assists them in making decisions. Each party can get advice from a lawyer, and support from a mental health professional, but this is usually outside of mediation. In Collaborative Practice, there is no neutral person; instead the parties work with their lawyers and other collaborative team members to resolve what they need to resolve. The team, rather than the neutral mediator, sets the agenda and manages the process. To use either mediation or Collaborative Practice, both parties must agree on the method.
Q: Does a Collaborative Divorce cost less?
A: Reaching an agreement on all issues in the divorce always means less legal fees than litigation. This is true whatever route is taken to get to the agreement – Collaborative, mediation or negotiation. With the traditional “negotiation” approach, the parties are still involved in the Court proceeding, and therefore, must attend several regularly scheduled hearings, even if they ultimately resolve the issues by agreement. Generally, it is the pressure of the Court process that “forces” the settlement. With Collaborative Divorce, the parties do not waste their time or resources on the regularly scheduled hearings.