Using A Collaborative Divorce Team Approach to Tame the Paper Tiger

Using A Collaborative Divorce Team Approach to Tame the Paper Tiger

collaborative divorceWhen couples first begin the process of divorcing, the task of gathering the information needed to help them make good decisions can feel overwhelming. In many families, the responsibilities have been split between the partners so that one person may have a good idea of the monthly bills and budget while the other person may know more about the retirement plans. One person may have taken the children to the doctor and attended parent/teacher conferences while the other person took care of household maintenance and repairs. Each partner comes to the table with lots of information about what they did, but often very little information about the tasks their spouse looked after. In a traditional litigated divorce, this can be frightening, because each spouse if afraid about what they do not know and they often try to use what they do know to the disadvantage of the other spouse as a means of defense. This makes trying to share information painful, expensive, and maybe even impossible. The Collaborative Divorce Process is different. Working with the Collaborative Divorce Team, both spouses are able to share their information in an open and transparent manner. There is no “gotcha.” With the help and encouragement of the team, both spouses work together to provide the information they need to make good decisions for their family. Here is a list of the information the couple should gather to be prepared in the Collaborative Divorce process. If you don’t have all of this at your fingertips, don’t fret. Your Collaborative Divorce Team will work with you to help you locate the information you need and then help you organize it in a way that you and your spouse can make sound decisions about your future.

  •  Property information
    • Real Estate: Original closing documents, refinance closing documents, a copy of the most recent deed, the most recent statement for any loans secured by the home (mortgage and/or home equity lines of credit). For investment rental properties, a copy of the current lease with the tenant is also needed.
    • Tangible Personal Property: A list of the items that need to be divided between the parties. If you already agree on how things are going to be divided, write down the agreement just so everyone is on the same page and bring that to the first collaborative team meeting. This includes furniture, major appliances, special collections, cars, tools, and anything other physical items that you need to make a decision about.
    •  Intangible Personal Property: This includes bank accounts, stocks and bonds, investments, trusts, annuities, retirement accounts, pension plans etc. For this property, you need a list of the accounts (including the account number, the name of the institution where the account is held, the date opened, the value at the beginning of the marriage, the value on the date of separation) and the most recent statement for each account. A list of life insurance policies including the insurance company, account number, what type of insurance (term, variable life, whole life, etc.)
  • Budget Information
    • Monthly Income and Expense information: Tax returns for the last tax year and the last 3 paystubs or deposit advice statements from both spouses’ employer, statements of income from any other source, copies of the last 3 months’ bills.
    • Debts: A list of creditors that includes the name of each creditor, the account number and the current balance for all joint and separate debt.
  • Parenting Plan Information A list of the children’s schools, teachers, and school schedules. If your child has special needs, bring a copy of your child’s most recent IEP or 504 plan, to help you and your spouse talk about what the needs are and how you will work together to meet them. A list of the children’s doctors and other health care professionals and any medical and/or health concerns the children may have. Contact information for children’s daycare providers. This list isn’t necessarily complete and you do not need to have it all on the first day, but by starting to gather the information listed here, you will get a jump start on the process.



About Collaborative Divorce Center of Coastal Virginia:

Collaborative Divorce Center of Coastal Virginia is designed to help you through the trauma of divorce using the Collaborative Method.  Collaborative Divorce gives you the advantage of a team approach, consisting of Lawyers, a Divorce Coach/Child Specialist and Financial Planners. Your children will receive highly specialized care in the hands of our Child Specialist.

The Collaborative Divorce Center of Coastal Virginia serves clients throughout Virginia, including those in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, Suffolk, Hampton and surrounding areas.

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