collaborative divorce

The difficult part of a divorce should be the decision to obtain one – not the legal process that follows. Social science tells us that divorce is one of the most stressful events that can occur in an adult’s life, second only to the death of a spouse. Sadly, too much of the time, when clients look back on their divorce negatively, they are referring to the legal process, which made things worse instead of better. At Papa & Roberts we work with divorcing clients to minimize the time, money, and stress associated with the legal aspects of divorce and strive to set clients and their spouses up to be effective co-parents during and after the legal process.

Rather than seeing the divorce as primarily an adversarial competition, at Papa & Roberts, PLLC we work to treat the divorce as a problem to be solved or a crisis to be navigated, taking into account the emotional, financial, and legal elements that present themselves. We know that divorce is much more than simply a change in one’s legal marital status. Therefore, when appropriate, we utilize financial experts, mental health practitioners, business valuators, and a wide array of other professionals to advise and support our clients through all of the various and sometimes complicated life changes that result from divorce.

We know that every family is different and that the reasons for a divorce are almost always very complex. And when divorcing families include children, the stakes could not be higher. So rather than applying a particular formula to every case, we listen to our clients to understand their concerns going into the process and their goals for their post-divorce life.

With that overarching framework in mind, our office offers two basic process models for couples and families:

  1. Collaborative Divorce
  2. Traditional Divorce Settlement

We also know that legal fees can be hard to manage and so we work hard to be as efficient as we can without sacrificing quality of service. Two specific examples of how we do what we can to manage legal fees are:

  1. Cooperation – We typically reach out to the other party or his/her attorney early in the case suggesting that we exchange all relevant financial documents with the other party voluntarily and by agreement, rather than going through the long, tedious, and extraordinarily expensive formal discovery process, which includes dozens of sworn interrogatories, requests for the production of voluminous amounts of documents, and hours-long depositions. Informal discovery is much more targeted while still providing all of the information needed for the parties to make good decisions in the divorce.

  2. Level-Headed Assessment – We try to quickly and proactively nail down which issues can be agreed upon and which are more difficult so that our clients are not paying us to work on problems that do not exist or are not important to them. Too much of the time in divorce, there is an underlying assumption that the parties disagree about virtually everything, but when we intentionally drill down around what each party is thinking, oftentimes there is in fact much less disagreement than either party believed to be true.
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