"After nearly 20 years as a divorce litigator, I welcome the opportunity to provide to families in Roanoke, the surrounding counties and throughout Southwest Virginia the opportunity to make informed, respectful decisions for restructuring their family, their finances and their futures through the Collaborative Divorce Process."              --Cheryl Watson Smith, Esq.

 

Collaborative Divorce is a respectful, out of court, process to settle divorce and family disputes.  It is a voluntary choice for settlement instead of an involuntary choice for court battles in an adversarial litigation process. 

If you or someone you know has prayerfully concluded that separation or divorce is inevitable, yet are seeking a respectful alternative to traditional divorce, property division, custody, visitation, co-parenting, or child and spousal support litigation, then consider the Collaborative Divorce Process.

In the Collaborative Process trained Collaborative Professionals assist their clients to seek and reach resolutions that consider the individual's as well as the family's needs and interests. The Collaborative Professionals guide the Process and the clients decide their future.  The Collaborative Professionals are on your settlement team and from day one, your dollars are spent seeking a resolution that is acceptable to everyone in your family.   

Advantages of Collaboration

  • Effective. More than 90% of Collaborative Cases reach agreements to resolve some or all issues.
  • May Save Time & Money. Typical Collaborative cases resolve in approximately 6-7 meetings and in approximately 6-9 months, depending on the needs and desires of the clients. Using the Collaborative Divorce Team, you get legal, emotional and financial support from the least expensive expert with the most experience, when the service is needed.
  • Private & Confidential. Collaborative meetings are held in the professionals’ offices, not in open court. By agreement, discussions and interactions during meetings are confidential to encourage open, honest, and frank discussions with consideration given to each spouse’s interests, goals, needs, fears or concerns.
  • Voluntary. It takes two to Collaborate.  The Collaborative Process starts when both parties agree to participate in the process, hire their own Collaborative attorney and sign a Collaborative Participation Agreement committing to no court, to being respectful, to providing full disclosure and transparency and making decisions that take into account the interest goals and needs of each other and everyone in the family.
  • Decreases Stress & Disruptions. Even when discussions are vigorous, Collaborative meetings are non-adversarial with the necessary Collaborative Professionals present. Meetings are scheduled in advance with Agendas so everyone can be prepared and emotionally ready to use the time together efficiently and effectively.
  • Children may experience less stress and disruptions. The anxiety and uncertainty of the adversarial court system, where a judge makes decisions affecting the children’s future, is removed. A Collaborative Child Specialist helps the children express their fears, needs, and concerns so the parents, coaches, and attorneys can make the best arrangements for the entire family. Parents are better able to share family events without creating discomfort for the children and themselves.
  • Improves Skills for Resolving Disputes. The Collaborative Professionals help create an atmosphere of cooperation and model communication and problem solving skills that continue beyond the signing of the settlement agreement. Parents are better equipped to handle disputes should they arise in the future.
  • Preserves or Improves Relationships. Collaborative participants commit to consider each others point of view. With the safe sharing of interests, goals, needs, fears and concerns, comes improved communication skills. Historically, three to four percent (3%-4%) of couples participating in the Collaborative Process reconcile and the others are better able to address and resolve future issues.
  • Durable Agreements and Greater Compliance. Parties are more likely to abide by agreements they develop.  Collaborative Agreements emerge from the parties' hard work and commitment to seeking and sharing all relevant information, considering each others interests, goals and needs, and reaching agreements that are acceptable to everyone in the family.

Make an informed decision about your future - contact us for a consultation to learn about the pros and cons of all process options, including Collaborative Divorce.

Resources

Collaborative Brochure Click Here

Divorce Readiness Scale Click Here

Collaborative Expectations of Conduct  Click Here