The ending of a marriage marks the end of a romantic partnership, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of civility between former spouses. A marriage doesn’t have to end with a winner and a loser; in fact, all parties may greatly benefit from a collaborative, compassionate dissolution process.

Collaborative family law in Ohio allows for a more private and respectful pathway toward resolving the variety of issues stemming from the end of a marriage. Your termination process doesn’t have to end up as a litigious fight, so collaborative dissolution may be the best option for your situation.

What does the collaborative process entail?

The collaborative process starts when parties sign a collaborative family law agreement. This agreement lays out expectations for the process, and is signed in a group meeting with both parties, each party’s individual attorney, and any third-party neutral participants. This combination of participants is commonly referred to as a “team.”

Once an agreement is in place, the team will continue meeting to establish each party’s goals and interests. This will serve as the starting point for the collaborative proceedings. The team will continue to hold meetings to come to a resolution.

What if collaboration doesn’t work in my case?

Every couple is different, and so every termination process is different as well. The collaborative process is an option available to all Ohio or Kentucky couples, but no one process is fail-proof in every instance.

If you begin the collaborative process and you and your spouse are not able to come to resolution, you can still utilize either the dissolution or divorce process after the fact. As an extra measure of protection, neither attorney may continue representation of his or her client if the collaborative process is terminated, and no one from the aforementioned team may testify to the collaborative proceedings in Court without the written permission of each member of the team, including the person asked to testify. The collaborative process offers a level of privacy to the parties because matters stay out of the courtroom for the vast majority of the process, excluding a very short final hearing. For those considering the collaborative process, this may prove a bonus as opposed to a what could become a more public litigious divorce or dissolution.

Is this separate from other family law matters?

What about your child custody agreement, visitation schedule and division of other assets? Collaborative family law encompasses all facets of this area of law, meaning you can resolve matters holistically through one collaborative process.

Collaborative family law practitioners can offer additional resources to clients to address specialized matters of concern. Family psychologists, financial experts and childcare specialists can join the parties in collaborative sessions to help determine the best path forward after the dissolution.

For those who can maintain open dialogue during the termination of their marriage, the collaborative process can prove to be an ideal option. If you’d prefer a more private, respectful option, consider the collaborative process over a traditional dissolution or the typical litigious legal battles.