The Collaborative Process
As a member of the Collaborative Family Law Affiliates in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, Ms. Edwards offers another out-of-court alternative to resolving the divorcing family’s disputes.
The Affiliates are all independent professionals experienced in divorce matters: financial advisors, co-parenting and other mental health professionals and attorneys. The interests of the children are a priority.
Goals of the Collaborative process include avoiding the expense, stress and delays of court, helping both parties understand the financial implications of their decisions, reaching ultimate agreements cooperatively, transparent sharing of financial information and planning, and stabilizing the family – both the children and the finances.
The parties and attorneys commit to sharing of financial information and keeping the dispute out of court. If a party decides to litigate both attorneys must resign.
Each party has his and her own attorney selected from among the Affiliates. Financial planning and co-parenting issues can be referred to the appropriate professionals who serve as neutral advisors. Parties may work individually with Collaborative Affiliate coaches to help guide them through the process.
The negotiations and discussions are generally held in conferences with both parties and their attorneys. However, because much of the work is done with both parties meeting with the neutral financial advisors and a single co-parenting specialist, the cost can be substantially less than that of a litigated divorce. (There may be insurance coverage for some of the co-parenting issues and both parties paying one financial advisor is less expensive than each party hiring an expert to do battle in court.)
Another advantage of the Collaborative process (much like mediation) is that the parties have the freedom to make decisions that are in their own best interests – they are not bound by the court’s view of what might be equitable. The parties may reach the creative solutions that work best for their family.