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Colby S. Hall

"I spoke to a lot of lawyers before I chose Colby to represent me, He was the only person I felt truly had my best interests at heart. When everything was done, I still felt the same way. He took what felt like an impossible situation and brought my husband and I to a conclusion where we both felt like we were treated fairly."

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How is the Collaborative process unique in comparison to other approaches to divorce?
Collaborative is distinguished by three key elements:
  1. The voluntary and free exchange of information.
  2. The pledge not to litigate (go to court) and withdrawal of both attorneys and other team professionals if either party litigates.
  3. A commitment to respect for both parties' shared goals.
How does Collaborative actually work step by step?
When you decide on a Collaborative divorce, each spouse retains a Collaborative attorney. Everyone agrees in writing not to go to court. Next, you meet privately and in face-to-face talks with your attorneys. You will also have the option of additional experts if you wish, such as divorce coaches and child and financial specialists. All meetings are intended to produce an honest exchange of information and clear understanding about needs and expectations, especially concerning the well-being of children. Mutual problem-solving by all parties leads to the final divorce agreement.
What's the difference between a Collaborative and conventional divorce?
In a conventional divorce, parties rely upon the court system and judges to resolve their disputes. Unfortunately, in a conventional divorce spouses often come to view each other as adversaries, and the litigation process can be a battleground. The resulting conflicts take an immense emotional toll on families-especially those with children. Collaborative is by definition a non-adversarial approach. The attorneys pledge in writing not to go to court. They negotiate in good faith, and work together with you to achieve mutual settlement outside the courts. Collaborative eases the emotional strains of a breakup, and protects the well-being of children.
What's the difference between Collaborative and Mediation?
In mediation, an impartial third party (the mediator) assists the negotiations of both parties and tries to help settle your case. However, the mediator cannot give either of you legal advice or be an advocate for either side. If there are attorneys for each of you, they may or may not be present at the mediation sessions, but if they are not present, then you can consult them between mediation sessions. When there's an agreement, the mediator prepares a draft of the settlement terms for review and editing by both you and your attorneys.

Collaborative allows you both to have attorneys present during the negotiation process to keep settlement as the top priority. The attorneys, who have training similar to mediators, work with their clients and one another to assure a balanced process that's positive and productive. When there is agreement, a document is drafted by the attorneys, and reviewed and edited by you both until everyone is satisfied.

Does Collaborative cost more than going to court?
Collaborative is typically less expensive than going to court. This is partly because Collaborative participants and their attorneys have direct contact with each other in informal, face-to-face meetings. In litigation, communication is conducted through formal filings and court appearances, making costs are far more difficult to predict.
What is a Collaborative Team?
A Collaborative team is the combination of professionals that you and your spouse choose to work with to resolve your dispute. It can be simply you and your Collaborative attorneys. In addition to your Collaborative attorneys, you can choose to include a neutral financial professional, divorce coaches, a child specialist or other specialists you and your spouse believe would be helpful. Your Collaborative team will guide and support you as problem-solvers, not as adversaries.
How does Collaborative minimize the hostility of many divorces?
The guiding principle of Collaborative is respect. This respectful tone encourages participants to show compassion, understanding, and cooperation. Collaborative professionals are trained in non-confrontational negotiation, helping keep discussions productive. The goal of Collaborative is to build a settlement on areas of agreement, not to perpetuate disagreement.
Is Collaborative a faster way toward separation and divorce?
Each situation determines how quickly the process proceeds. However, Collaborative can be more direct and efficient, and is typically faster than litigation. By focusing on problem-solving-instead of blame and grievances-there's an opportunity to strive for respectful results. Full disclosure and open communications ensure that all issues are addressed in a timely manner. And since you settle out of court, there's no wait for the multiple court dates necessary with conventional divorce.
How does Collaborative focus on the future?
Divorce is both an ending and a beginning. Collaborative helps you anticipate and include your need to move forward, and makes your family's future a top priority. As a more respectful, dignified process, Collaborative supports your family's goals for a smoother transition to the next stage of your lives.
Source: IACP