Collaborative Divorce

Under this method, the parties each have their own specially trained lawyer. Kimberly Stamatelos is a collaborative divorce lawyer who has been trained in collaborative law and has been a collaborative law attorney for over ten years. She is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She co-founded the Central Iowa Academy of Collaborative Professionals practice group in 2013.

The most important aspect of a collaborative divorce is, the parties and attorneys agree in a contract, that they will not go to court but wlll negotiate the settlement of their divorce instead. If the negotiation breaks down, the parties must dismiss the collaborative lawyers and hire litigation attorneys. Most of the collaborative divorce ls done in the same room with the parties and the lawyers working respectfully and cooperatively.Sometimes additional professionals (financial specialists, child specialists, divorce coaches) also participate. The design is to view the family as a whole, in a way that “dismantles” the marriage and launches everyone in a way that is financially and emotionally healthy for the future. Communication and information sharing is paramount and creative shared solutions are established.

Costs for collaborative divorce are often less expensive than litigation. The timetable is established by the parties with the assistance of their attorneys, and the divorce is filed  when the resolution has been developed. Much of the work is done in four way face-to face meetings where everything is exchanged without the need for costly legal maneuvers, and with respect given and received. (If parties are reluctant to meet in the same room, they can meet in separate rooms with the lawyers shuttling between the rooms). The goal of a collaborative divorce is to solve problems jointly and calmly, and to avoid turning the control over the parties’ lives over to a court. A collaborative lawyer still provides legal advice to the client, but they have made a commitment to work collaboratively and to do everything to avoid a courtroom battle.

Kimberly Stamatelos talks about ending marriages respectfully through collaborative divorce in the November 2012 issue of The Iowa Lawyer.

Iowa Collaborative Divorce

Frequently Asked Questions about Collaborative Divorce