Collaborative Divorce vs. Cooperative Divorce: Iowa Collaborative Law Divorce Explained

Collaborative Divorce vs. Cooperative Divorce: Iowa Collaborative Law Divorce Explained

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 26, 2019

There are several ways that a divorce can be resolved. In this article, we will explain the differences between collaborative divorce and cooperative divorce in Iowa. Our Iowa divorce lawyers explain:

  • What is a collaborative divorce?
  • What is a cooperative divorce?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative divorce?
  • Who should consider a collaborative or cooperative divorce in Iowa?

What is a collaborative divorce?

When divorcing parties decide on a collaborative divorce, they each hire their own attorney and meet one-on-one to discuss any disputes and what they hope to accomplish.

A signed Participation Agreement is required by both parties and their attorneys. This commits them to the collaborative divorce process where they will attempt to avoid litigation by resolving their issues through cooperation and transparency. The agreement also states that should an agreement not come to terms, both parties must hire new attorneys to represent them in court.

In a collaborative divorce, a series of meetings between both parties and their attorneys are used to negotiate spousal maintenance, asset division, child support, and child custody.

Once a settlement has been reached, it is filed along with a divorce petition and entered by the court. The divorcing parties do not need to appear in court.

What is a cooperative divorce?

A cooperative divorce is similar to a collaborative divorce in that both parties and their attorneys work together towards an agreement in the hopes of avoiding litigation. But should an agreement not be determined and the case must head to trial, attorneys can still represent their parties in court.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative divorce?

When compared to other dissolved marriage resolutions, collaborative and cooperative divorces offer several benefits. But there are also a few potential disadvantages to keep in mind when deciding on an approach to a divorce in Iowa. Collaborative and cooperative divorces:

  • Save resources – If a couple can accomplish a collaborative or cooperative divorce, they’ll likely save time and money by avoiding a trial.
  • Offer an informal setting – A courtroom can be intimidating and stressful for some people. Collaborative and cooperative divorces can avoid a courtroom setting all together and create a more comfortable environment to negotiate terms in. Parties often find that this informal setting allows them to be more open and honest.
  • Offer more control – In both cooperative and collaborative divorces, divorcing parties have more control over their terms and avoid taking chances with a judge.

However, neither divorce approach guarantees an agreement. And in collaborative divorces, the involved parties are required to hire new attorneys and start the process all over again. Another disadvantage to consider with both types of divorces is that they eliminate the traditional discovery phase. This could allow one or both parties to be dishonest about assets or debts.

Who should consider a collaborative or cooperative divorce in Iowa?

For those wondering if a collaborative or cooperative divorce in Iowa should be considered in a dissolved marriage, consider the following:

  • Are you willing to openly negotiate with your spouse?
  • Would you prefer to avoid a courtroom setting?
  • Is your final goal to come up with a fair solution rather than establishing a winner or loser in your divorce?

If the answer to these questions is yes, a collaborative or cooperative divorce should be considered.

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