Many of our Middle Tennessee divorce clients choose collaborative divorce as the process option that makes the most sense for their family. Collaborative divorce is a private, efficient process where parties and their attorneys agree in writing to settle their case without stepping aside and having the judge make decisions for them regarding their children and their finances. It is a holistic approach to divorce that takes seriously that there are legal, emotional, and financial components to consider, and understands that clients are best served when all three of these aspects are attended to during the process. In short, this option humanizes the divorce process for families rather than militarizes it.
In order to effectively and efficiently address all three aspects of the divorce, collaborative divorce is a team-based process where the parties consult with their attorneys for legal advice, but they also receive financial advice from a financial neutral who is trained to assist both parties and their attorneys in understanding all of the financial aspects of the divorce, including property division, thoughtful post-divorce budgeting, and alimony/ spousal support when applicable.
A neutral licensed mental health professional (called a Coach) works with the parties on the emotional and psychological divorce that is present in every divorce along with the legal/ financial divorce. Unfortunately, the emotional divorce is typically either ignored or exploited in traditional divorce litigation, making the whole experience much more expensive and stressful for parties who are already often in crisis. By dealing head-on with the emotional dynamics in a proactive and constructive way, collaborative divorce helps keep the parties on track toward reaching a mutually acceptable and durable settlement agreement without getting sidetracked around an emotional issue.
In addition, for families that have children, this kind of divorce is used to resolve all parenting plan issues that arise in Tennessee divorces. The Coach and the attorneys advise the parents regarding what is best for their children as they go through the divorce, including receiving guidance on how best to tell the children about the divorce and how to transition housing for the family in a way that minimizes impact on the children. Collaborative divorce is also used to help parents make decisions regarding how and when they will each spend time with their children after the divorce, how they will spend holidays, how major parenting decisions will be made going forward, and how the parties will support the children financially (via child support and otherwise) once they are living in separate residences. Throughout the process, all of the professionals work together with the parties to facilitate the couple’s ability to be good co-parents even after the divorce.
In sum, collaborative divorce helps couples experiencing a great deal of conflict to focus on everyone's best interests in a respectful and sensible way, which often results in an overall reduction of conflict for the parties and their children, which can save years and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Collaborative Divorce also helps low conflict couples maintain their amicability that is, sadly, so often lost in the legal process.
At Papa & Roberts, PLLC, our lead family law attorney Benjamin Papa is one of the pioneers of Collaborative Divorce in Middle Tennessee and has extensive training and experience representing clients through the process, including clients with limited assets as well as clients with multimillion-dollar estates. He regularly represents clients in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin Tennessee.
Mr. Papa was the Founding President of the Middle Tennessee Collaborative Alliance, which is Middle Tennessee's collaborative divorce practice group. Mr. Papa is also an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and trains other professionals in how to work within the model through his work with Institute for Family Conflict Resolution (IFCR).
To schedule an appointment with an experienced Nashville collaborative divorce lawyer, call 615-767-5900, or send us an e-mail.