Collaborative divorce is available in Georgia and South Carolina and Hindson & Melton LLC can assist you with a collaborative divorce in either state. 


Collaborative Divorce Model 

Collaborative divorce involves each party selecting an independent collaborative law divorce attorney, and the four individuals working together as a team with the goal of resolving all issues.   Third party experts such as financial or mental health professionals may be jointly retained to assist with specific issues such as division of assets or custody and visitation. 

Key to the collaborative divorce model is the participation agreement signed by the parties, wherein they agree not to go to court.  If the parties are unable to reach agreement through the collaborative process, all of the collaborative professionals withdraw and each party hires new counsel to litigate the case in court.     

The premise of the Georgia and South Carolina collaborative divorce  is that the clients will have more control over their divorce and that the process will be more respectful.  By removing the threat of litigation, the clients are able to participate voluntarily in a good faith exchange of relevant information and utilize interdisciplinary professionals as needed to help resolve difficult issues.

Advantages of Collaborative Divorce in Georgia and South Carolina: 

  • Collaborative divorce can be less costly and time-consuming than litigation
  • Interdisciplinary team can be designed to address specific issues cooperatively
  • Clients have great degree of involvement in defining their future
  • Collaborative divorce can be less stressful than litigation – by removing the fear of “going to court”
  • Collaborative training emphasizes “win-win” negotiations and solutions
  • Collaborative divorce can be faster than court discovery and waiting for court hearings
  • Creative solutions are encouraged by the process
  • The clients are in charge of decision-making rather than the court
  • Interest-based bargaining focuses on the underlying concerns, needs or interests of the parties.  Interest-based bargaining is more cooperative and less adversarial than position-based bargaining.  Each party communicates what is important about an issue rather than arguing for a specific solution or outcome. 

The Participation Agreement: 

Terms of the Georgia ǀ South Carolina collaborative divorce Participation Agreement include the following:

  • Every effort will be made to negotiate an agreement without going to court
  • Each party agrees to share information freely and work to reach agreement
  • Parties will agree on and jointly hire neutral experts, if needed
  • If agreement is reached, the attorneys draft legal documents that are submitted to the court for approval
  • If the collaborative process fails and litigation is necessary, the collaborative attorneys will be replaced by other attorneys who are free to litigate on behalf of the parties

 Is my case suitable for collaborative divorce?

  • Some uncontested divorces have very few issues, and the parties are able to quickly reach agreement on all issues.  The collaborative process may not be necessary or helpful in such a case.  An attorney prepares the documents as counsel for one of the parties, and the other party is free to consult with another lawyer as needed in reviewing the documents.  Or, each party may have an individual attorney from the beginning, and the attorneys assist with the preparation and review of an uncontested divorce agreement.    
  • If there is a high level of conflict between you and your spouse, collaborative divorce is not likely to be successful.  It could be even more expensive or protracted than a traditional litigated divorce.
  • If one of the parties is extremely manipulative or controlling, collaborative divorce is not likely to be successful because the collaborative approach involves good-faith compromise and fair play.  
  • Hindson & Melton LLC can represent you in a collaborative divorce in either Georgia or South Carolina.  We also handle traditional litigated divorce cases and uncontested divorces.   

While collaborative practice is most often associated with divorce, it is gaining momentum as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism in other industries, including healthcare, employment, probate, contruction, and religious organizations.  Contact Hindson & Melton LLC for a consultation regarding collaborative divorce or to discuss applying collaborative practice principles to resolve other disputes.  

Karen S. Hindson   August 12, 2012  Karen S. Hindson