Cooperative Divorce is like Collaborative Divorce, but more limited in its ability to create custom solutions for a family. To me a Cooperative Divorce means that I am working with lawyer whose integrity I can trust and whose commitment to a peaceful resolution is clear. This lawyer may not be collaboratively trained or may not willing to accept the protective limitations of Collaborative Divorce.
Cooperative Divorce means that just what it says: we will proceed in a cooperative manner. We will exchange information freely without having to resort to expensive formal discovery. That is, we agree to provide information, documentation, and the like that the other side reasonably requests, if it’s relevant to decision-making. We will proceed in a manner that is more like a friendly settlement conference than a Collaborative Divorce case but allows the positive aspects of the relationship to be sustained and supported in the divorce process.
It’s important to note that Cooperative divorce does not have the same protections about not using a person’s statements, opinion, or settlement offers that is provided in a Collaborative Divorce and it doesn’t prohibit the lawyers from going to court, which may make it easier to backslide into adversarial litigation.
Are There Neutral Professionals in a Cooperative Divorce?
Typically not. It’s most reminiscent of early collaborative cases in which lawyers were the only divorce professionals. Collaborative Divorce started as a lawyer/lawyer concept, and then Nancy Ross brought the mental health professional in to assist in positive parenting and improved communication and Cathy Daigle brought the financial professional to help navigate the financial concerns. One of the real positives of Collaborative Divorce in this part of the world is that both Nancy and Cathy are part of our practice group. We have some of the most experienced Collaborative Divorce professionals in the world right in our area.