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Collaborative Divorce

Experienced West Chester Attorney Manages Your Collaborative Divorce

Knowledgeable guidance and reliable advocacy for a cooperative process

Collaborative divorce is a process where spouses work together outside of court to decide the terms of their divorce agreement. Collaborative divorce allows spouses to speak openly in a safe and nonconfrontational environment while having their attorneys present to provide advice. At Voit Family Law, PLLC, attorney Catherine H. Voit has helped numerous clients use this process to reduce the stress, time and cost of getting divorced. She is adept at helping clients create solutions that fit their needs and circumstances while preserving family relationships.

How the collaborative divorce process works

Similar to divorce mediation, collaborative divorce is a cooperative process that enables couples to reach a comprehensive divorce settlement they can present to the court for approval, thereby avoiding a trial. There are many similarities to mediation, such as:

  • Self-scheduled sessions free from the court calendar
  • Reduced costs since there is no expense of trial preparation
  • Reduced costs because you can share costs whenever expert consultations are necessary
  • Less adversarial than a trial
  • Greater privacy than at trial
  • More control over the final outcome than you’d have in a trial

While the process is not for everyone, especially couples with a history of domestic violence and those who cannot meet without being antagonistic toward each other, many find it and divorce mediation less stressful ways to end their marriage. But there are also important differences between collaborative divorce and mediation:

  • There is no neutral third party — In mediation, the mediator guides discussions toward an acceptable compromise. In collaborative divorce, parties and their attorneys meet to negotiate in four-way sessions.
  • Participants promise not to litigate — In mediation, if you don’t like the direction of talks, you can opt out and take your case to court, retaining the same attorney who’s been advising you all along. In collaborative divorce, everyone promises not to litigate. You could renege on that promise at some point, but your attorney cannot. So, you’d have to start over from square one with a new lawyer.

These are the basic steps in a collaborative divorce:

  • Parties to the divorce agree to use the collaborative process.
  • Parties hire their own collaborative law attorneys to represent them in the process.
  • All participants sign a participation agreement, pledging not to litigate the case and to abide by certain rules that encourage respectful dialogue.
  • Participants agree to a schedule of sessions and agendas for the session.
  • Participants meet and engage in four-way negotiations. Attorneys advice the parties and advocate for their rights.
  • Sessions continue until a marital settlement agreement is reached.
  • The parties sign the agreement and present it to the court for approval.
  • The court grants a divorce using the settlement agreement as the basis of its divorce decree.

If the collaborative process sounds like a good fit for your situation, Catherine H. Voit can help.  Catherine is a seasoned collaborative divorce attorney who provides guidance on how to best achieve the short- and long-term goals you have for yourself, your children and your finances. In the event that you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, Catherine can refer you to a qualified family law attorney who can take your case from there.

Contact Catherine today to schedule a collaborative divorce consultation

With more than 25 years of experience in family law, Catherine H. Voit is ready to help you navigate the collaborative divorce process. Call Voit Family Law, PLLC today at 484-881-3185 or contact the firm online to set up your initial consultation. Catherine represents clients in the greater Chester County area, including all surrounding cities, Montgomery County and Delaware County.

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    "Just wanted to thank you for all your hard work and help ... our family really appreciates everything."

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Attorney Catherine Voit

With over 30 years of experience as a family law attorney and a lifetime of compassion for her clients, Catherine has the knowledge, skill and ability to successfully solve your family law issues.

  • Chester County Bar Foundation
  • Board of Directors
  • BV® Distinguished™ Attorney
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