Meredith C. Mahoney Nerem is trained in collaborative divorce and dissolution law and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Law Professionals, the Central Iowa Academy of Collaborative Law Professionals and the Heart of Iowa Collaborative Divorce Professionals.
In a collaborative divorce and dissolution, the parties and attorneys agree in a contract that they will not go to court but will instead negotiate the settlement of their divorce and dissolution. If the negotiation breaks down, the parties must dismiss the collaborative lawyers and hire litigation attorneys. Most of the collaborative divorce and dissolution process is done in the same room with the parties and lawyers working respectfully and cooperatively. Sometimes additional professional (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.
The costs for a collaborative divorce and dissolution are often less expensive than litigation. The timetable is established by the parties with the assistance of their attorneys, and the divorce is filed by BOTH parties when the resolution has been reached. 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 by all. The goal of collaborative divorce and dissolution is to solve problems jointly and calmly, and to avoid turning the control over the parties' lives to a court. A collaborative lawyer still provides legal advice to the client, by they have made a commitment to work collaboratively with the goal of avoiding a costly and unproductive courtroom battle.