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Collaborative Divorce

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Columbus Collaborative Divorce Attorney

If you are looking for a way to avoid a legally contested and expensive way to end your marriage, perhaps the collaborative divorce process is right for you. For couples who have decided to end their marriage in a fair and reasonable manner, collaborative divorce can save time and money, reduce stress and provide other valuable benefits.

New Approach

The collaborative divorce process is a relatively new approach to terminate a marriage. The process allows spouses to make decisions for their families in a private and dignified manner. The Dougherty, Hanneman & Snedaker, LLC (“DHS”) law firm advises clients through the collaborative process. Spouses that choose this process are able to create solutions to marital issues uniquely tailored to their situation.

Non-adversarial Process

As stated on the Collaborative Divorce Professionals, Inc. Web site, the collaborative divorce process is described as a rational way for reasonable people to deal with divorce, dissolution, legal separation, custody, shared parenting, child support and spousal support. It is a non-adversarial process conducted primarily outside of the court system that promotes creative problem solving. It has also been characterized as a way to circumvent a marital divorce system that does not work!

Collaborative Agreement

In a collaborative divorce the husband and wife each have a lawyer specially trained in the collaborative process. Each party signs an agreement at the beginning of the collaborative process stating that neither party will resort to court action to resolve disputes. This agreement also states that if either party decides not to continue with the collaborative process, both lawyers must withdraw. Then the divorce will have to proceed with other attorneys hired to litigate the disagreement in court.

Resolve Problems

With the collaborative divorce process, the parties meet with their lawyers individually and later meet jointly with the other party and his or her attorney. The two lawyers give their clients relevant information about the law and legal procedures. The parties and their lawyers discuss specific issues and attempt to reach agreements on them through interest-based, rather than position-based, negotiations.

The collaborative process enables both parties to resolve problems through:

  • Identifying the underlying needs and desires of the parties
  • Generating potential solution alternatives
  • Discussing the pros and cons of each solution as it relates to the needs and desires of the participants
  • Agreeing upon a solution

This process contrasts with traditional divorce where each party takes a position (i.e. I want custody of the children) and fights hard to get it. That process does little to help the litigating parties maintain any semblance of a civil relationship after the divorce is final.

Save Time and Money

The collaborative process allows parties to save time and money. They save money in reaching a fair agreement by efficiently considering legal information, allowing direct communication, and avoiding unnecessary tasks. Collaborative divorce is one way in which the DHS firm enables its clients to reduce attorney fees and divorce-related expenses to preserve money for the family.

Reduce Stress

The collaborative process can decrease present and future personal stress. With collaborative divorce the parties are “facilitators” who work to resolve their contentious issues, aided by their lawyers. The collaborative process also reduces stress in the future by avoiding some court hearings and trials that are usually hostile and emotional. In contrast, a traditional divorce usually makes the parties “enemies” who fight against each other and often increases emotional stress.

Increase Privacy

Collaborative divorce allows parties to keep many of their private matters confidential. That is because joint meetings of the parties to resolve issues occur in a law firm’s private offices. In contrast, court hearings and trials occur in a public court room. Spectators, including family, friends, neighbors and reporters are frequently present.

Maintain Family Relationships

This collaborative process also helps to maintain quality parent-child relationships through and beyond divorce, because the divorce process is not as wrenching. Sadly, the relationship quality each party is likely to have with their children after the divorce is often not considered in selecting a divorce process. As a contrast, the contested divorce frequently results in severely damaged parent and child relationships. After a hard-fought trial it is often difficult for the parties and children to have a good relationship. Too much damage has been done.

Schedule a Consultation

Attorneys Snedaker and Hanneman of Dougherty, Hanneman & Snedaker, LLC practice collaborative law and are competent in the art of principled negotiation. Schedule a consultation with either of them through this Web site or by phone. Clients turn to the DHS law firm for counsel in Ohio divorce cases because of its concentration in this area of law.

Success Stories


The DHS law firm attorneys have produced successful outcomes for many family law clients. Please click here to read about success stories that reflect various family law issues. Perhaps you will see your marital issues reflected in one or more of these brief stories.

Contact Us

Please contact DHS for a confidential consultation with attorney Dougherty or Hanneman or Snedaker. Each is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. They are three of only 115 attorneys in Ohio who have earned this designation as of January 1, 2013. Less than one-half (1/2) of one (1) percent of all family relations attorneys registered in Ohio has achieved this status!

DHS is located in a safe, convenient northwest Columbus suburb with free on-site parking. The building is west of the intersection of Sawmill Road and Bethel Road. (Bethel Road becomes Hayden Road west of the Sawmill Road intersection.) The offices are in the classic redbrick Northwest Law Offices Building:

  • next to Bravo! Cucina Italiana Restaurant,
  • on the north side of Hayden Road, and
  • east of Riverside Drive (State Route 33).

Then turn onto Donnylane Boulevard from Hayden Road. Then turn right into the parking lot behind the building. The main entrance is at the rear of the building.