Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan is the document that reflects an agreement by parents for how to make important decisions about their children, how to communicate about their children, the schedule for time with the children and how to resolve any future disputes regarding the children.

No one has to fight over custody labels when parents choose to prepare a parenting plan.

Neutral child specialists and family specialists have the professional education and experience about child development and are a valuable resource to parents in developing the parenting plan.

How do I contact a Collaborative Professional?

Follow this link to contact a Collaborative professional.

You can start with talking to an attorney, neutral facilitator/coach, mediator, or financial neutral. All are able to talk with you about how the Collaborative process works and what your next steps could be.

What is the cost of the Collaborative process?

The cost varies depending on the specific issues in your divorce. Each Collaborative professional has his or her own fee schedule, and that is a question to discuss as you interview the professionals for your Collaborative Team.

You can control the costs by being organized when gathering information needed for your process, and by being prepared for meetings. You are able to bypass the expense of formal court discovery and share information in a streamlined approach.

Do the professionals in the Collaborative Law Institute participate in pro bono (free) or low bono cases?

CLI offers a Sliding Scale Fee program that you may qualify financially to be a candidate for a lowbono case.

Please see our Sliding Scale Fee Program page.

How is the Collaborative divorce different from the traditional divorce?

Collaborative divorce allows you and your partner, with the help of your Collaborative Team, come to agreements about your finances and parenting, without turning over the power of that decision-making process to your attorneys or the court.

Do we ever go to court?

Your final agreement is filed in court, but neither you nor your attorneys will need to appear in Court.

No paperwork is filed with the Court until you have completed your final agreement, so there are no scheduling conferences or court hearings.

What if my spouse/partner has already filed papers with the court – can we still choose the Collaborative process?


Attorneys for the couple can ask the court to have the case placed on inactive status while the Collaborative process continues.

How do you get the financial information you need to proceed?

You and your partner commit to voluntarily and completely disclose financial information and to provide supporting documentation such as tax returns, mortgage statements, pay stubs, credit card statements, et cetera.

What happens if one side or the other is dishonest, or misuses the process to take advantage of the other party?

Dishonesty violates the contract to engage in the Collaborative Process.

If a partner is intentionally withholding relevant information or misusing the process, the Collaborative process terminates.

What is a Relationship Plan?

A relationship plan helps you define the nature and terms of your co-parenting relationship as you move from spouse to co-parents. The relationship plan addresses the changes you and your partner will face in both the short and long-term as you define new expectations and boundaries. It also helps you problem solve any future dispute.

A couple develops this plan with their neutral coach as they go through the Collaborative process.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process in which you and your partner work with a mediator to identify the issues, gather information, generate options, and reach an agreement. The mediator is neutral, and does not advocate for either of you. He or she has no decision-making role and cannot give advice.

You can consult with your attorney before or after your mediation sessions, and in some cases, can have him or her present with you during the sessions. In order to complete the separation or divorce, legal documents must still be filed with the courts. Mediators do not prepare these legal documents.

Mediation can be part of the Collaborative process.

What type of training do Collaborative practioners have?

In addition to the training that is required in his or her particular field, each Collaborative practitioner is required to complete ongoing continuing education requirements specific to the Collaborative process.



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