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How does the collaborative process work?
Usually the parties and their attorneys have meetings to exchange information and discuss settlement options. There are occasions when it is beneficial for each party and their attorney to meet separately.
How much will this cost?
The costs are significantly less than the cost of going to court. The elimination of formal discovery and court hearings reduces your costs significantly. Each attorney sets his/her own hourly rate.
What if there has been domestic abuse in our past?
It is critical you tell your collaborative attorney if there has been abuse in your relationship. Collaborative attorneys have training to help the client determine if the collaborative process is a suitable option.
What if we don’t agree on custody of our children?
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, a child specialist is available to assist you in working through the decisions of physical custody and parenting time.
What does a collaborative team look like?
A collaborative team begins with the parties and their attorneys. If the need arises for consultation with a child expert or financial professional, the parties mutually select a collaborative professional who will provide expertise to assist with the settlement process.
Will I have to go to court?
In a collaborative case, the parties make a commitment to resolve their issues without going to court. Rarely, where the parties are unable to reach a settlement, court involvement may be necessary. If the collaborative process is not successful, the current collaborative attorneys must withdraw and the clients will then secure attorneys to go to court with them.
What special training does a collaborative attorney have?
All attorneys that are listed in the directory are licensed to practice law in the State of Iowa and have completed a 40 hour family law mediation training and collaborative law training. Many of the attorneys have years of experience doing mediation and family law cases. See the
to view the biographies and special training of the attorneys.
How long will this take?
One of the advantages of Collaborative law is that the clients have greater control of the length of the process as opposed to court imposed deadlines. It is generally quicker than going through the traditional trial process as the parties begin immediately working on the terms of the settlement. The time frame is also dependent on the complexity of the issues involved in your case. More complicated cases may require additional meetings, or involve other collaborative professionals. Your collaborative attorney can advise you in more detail about the time frame for your specific case.
What if I don’t have any financial information or records?
During the collaborative process, both parties will have access to the same financial information so that they are on a level playing field to make financial decisions. The parties will provide and exchange all of the financial information at the beginning of the process, and throughout, as necessary. Collaborative law is based upon the concept that both parties will fully and accurately disclose all financial information and the parties sign a Collaborative Law Agreement at the beginning of the process committing to this principal.
Can we have one attorney?
No. The rules of ethics as issued by the Iowa Supreme Court restrict an attorney from representing both parties in a family law case. In a collaborative divorce both parties benefit from being represented by attorneys who have been specifically trained in the area of collaborative divorce. Find a list of trained attorneys
What if the case is already filed?
If the party who has filed is open to the collaborative process then the case can be transitioned to a collaborative case. When you contact a collaboratively trained attorney on our list, they can discuss with you whether the case is suitable for the collaborative process.
Why is collaborative law a better option for families?
Collaborative attorneys are trained problem solvers not problem creators. We recognize the emotional and financial cost of going to court which can impact you and your family for years. The collaborative process begins the transition from married partners to effective co-parents. This process is future focused and sets the tone for effective communication, civility and respect once your case is concluded.