Collaborative Divorce Preparation: A Checklist
While your collaborative divorce attorney’s role is to guide you through the separation process, an amicable divorce starts with you. Before you’re ready to file for a collaborative divorce, you need to locate and gather certain documents and check off a few tasks to ensure a smooth process once things get started. While there are many differences between collaborative divorce and traditional divorce, you’ll notice that many of the preparation steps are similar. Don’t go into the process unprepared – follow the checklist below to get all your affairs in order and get your mind in the right headspace before your first collaborative divorce meeting.
Pre-Collaborative Divorce Checklist:
Tell the people who matter the most
Though it can be scary, it’s essential to tell your closest loved ones about your decision to divorce. When your family and friends are aware of your situation and supporting you, you’ll feel a sense of relief going forward in the process. Don’t feel like you need to tell anyone and everyone, but letting those closest to you know about what’s to come will be a major support as things begin to change drastically.
Many documents will need to be referenced and used during the division of assets in your collaborative divorce, and looking for them sooner rather than later will give you a leg up in the process. Schedule a time to go through all your files and accounts and set aside anything that looks important. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Tax returns
- Joint or separate bank statements
- Proof of income
- Marital debt reports
Keep communication open
Filing for divorce doesn’t mean you’ll never have to speak to your ex again. You’ll need to keep communication open to prepare for the cooperative process coming up. Amicably keeping in touch gets both of you in the right frame of mind for the extensive negotiations to come.
Consider additional resources
A collaborative divorce is most successful with a neutral facilitator (usually expert who has a mental health degree) and a financial expert. The neutral facilitator often works with the parties regarding parenting issues and also makes sure the joint meetings are facilitated in a collaborative and efficient manner. The financial expert helps parties review and understand the financial aspects of the parties’ finances. These joint experts assist the parties and the team to achieve an agreement which makes the collaborative divorce process successful.
Find the right collaborative divorce attorney
A collaborative divorce is only as good as the collaborative divorce attorney conducting the process. Before you file, do your research to ensure your attorney is licensed and has the collaborative divorce experience you need. You want someone with credentials you can trust. For example, Natalie Baird earned the title of “The Face of a Healthy Divorce” by Tampa Bay Metro Magazine in 2018. Accolades and awards like this confirm that a potential collaborative divorce attorney is more than competent.
Collaborate to Find an Amicable Solution
While the divorce preparation process can be overwhelming, you can find peace in the fact that collaborative divorce was designed to be amicable, with minimal conflict for both parties. Remind yourself that you’re both on the same team, looking for the same result. With the right collaborative divorce attorney by your side, you’ll be able to take on this season of change with confidence.
If you’re ready to file for divorce and are looking to take the collaborative route, get in touch with our experienced collaborative attorneys to schedule a consultation by calling Natalie Baird Mediations & Collaborative Divorce at (813) 440 – 9975 or contact us online.