Elliott Law remains dedicated to assisting families faced with the emotional challenges of divorce. A new method of handling the divorce process, called collaborative divorce, continues to gain popularity as more families move to avoid long legal battles and expensive court appearances.
A leading expert in the collaborative divorce process, attorney Elena Elliott currently serves as chair of the Collaborative Practice Institute of West Michigan and has spent years successfully guiding families through the collaborative divorce process.
Our children never dealt with months of arguments or uncertainty about where they would live or what would happen to them. They could see we were working together to make the best choices for our family. The focus is on solutions, not on blame.
A marriage may end, but your family can still move forward. The collaborative divorce process allows couples to work together — guided by a team of professionals — to reach a divorce settlement in a fair, child-friendly way without going to court.
The parties and their attorneys begin by discussing the differences between collaborative divorce and a traditional divorce settlement decided by a court. Collaborative divorce uses a team approach involving each party’s attorney, a neutral financial expert, mental health professionals (divorce coaches) and, at times, a child specialist or mediator.
The financial expert helps the parties make informed financial decisions. Divorce coaches help couples manage the emotional ups and downs while their attorneys work on the details of the divorce.
Clients and their attorneys sign an agreement that:
- Sets forth an out-of-court process directed by the parties, not the court
- Promotes full and open disclosure
- Enables couples to reach a settlement based on the family’s needs and priorities
- Encourages a settlement based on the best interests of the children
All members of the collaborative team — including both attorneys — must withdraw from the case if negotiations break down or if either party abandons the process or acts in a confrontational way that makes it impossible to reach a settlement.
Collaboration may reduce the time and conflict involved in divorce by required full disclosure of assets rather than resorting to a lengthy investigation, engaging one neutral financial expert instead of two and allowing the parties and professionals to control the pace of negotiations. Costs are largely determined by the parties’ readiness to settle — a powerful incentive to negotiate in good faith toward an equitable outcome in the best interests of the family.