Collaborative Divorce in Ohio is a New Method for Ending Marriages

Collaborative divorce in OhioTraditional divorce is highly adversarial and many times produces excessive stress within a family.  It involves court proceedings, low amounts of communication between spouses, high financial expenditures, and many times undesirable results for all parties involved.  The reality is that marital relationships are not conducive to litigation because they are too personal for a strict legal structure—courts tend not to facilitate the reparation of emotional feelings.

The bright side of the story is a new method for ending a marriage has been developed and is being put to use in many areas around Ohio and nationwide.  “Collaborative divorce” is very different from traditional divorce in that the parties agree at the beginning of a separation not to threaten litigation and to submit reasoned approaches to the issues involved in the situation.  It is structured as a negotiation in which both parties and their respective attorneys all agree to resolve all issues without threatening filing for contested divorce proceedings in court.  In fact, the attorneys must agree that if a contested divorce is threatened, and the situation cannot be resolved without litigation, they must withdraw from the case completely.

After the initial agreement is signed by all four parties to the collaboration, the parties then meet around a table to negotiate.  This may sound similar to mediation, but it is different in several respects.  Mediators are not permitted to give legal advice to either party and they are not authorized to make binding decisions upon the parties.  Collaborative divorce allows for both, but everything has to be agreed to by the parties without the use of courts.  Both parties have their own legal representation and are provided legal advice.  Any agreements that develop are binding on the parties afterwards, just as in divorce—the difference is that the approach to get to those decisions is non-adversarial—it’s collaborative.

To handle financial and custodial issues, experts can be employed by either party, but they must remain neutral.  The experts can include psychologists, tax planners, licensed real estate planners, social workers, and any other experts that may be needed to resolve the issues in the situation.  The experts are permitted to only give neutral advice and they give it to both parties at the same time, helping them deal with the difficult financial and emotional undertakings involved in the separation of a family.

Collaborative divorce is a team approach to handling family issues respectfully, without the use of the court system.  The experts and attorneys can help the parties come to agreements and help them cope with all of their issues, whereas traditional divorce may leave the parties feeling left to cope with their problems alone.

Please call Slater & Zurz LLP at 1-800-297-9191 or send us a blog message to schedule a time to talk and discuss your issues with an experienced domestic relations attorney.

For more information on divorces in ohio, please visit 


Excerpts taken from Akron Legal News “Collaborative Family Law Promotes Divorce with Dignity.”  July 27, 2012.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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