Collaborative Divorce in Nebraska

Collaborative Divorce in Nebraska

Kristin, can you provide some insight into your route to law, experience, and expertise in the field of family law and when and why did you start providing collaborative divorce services?  

At Veritas Legal Associates, our trio of attorneys is unified by a foundational commitment to justice and legal advocacy. My own foray into law began with a fascination for the complexities of family law, where I found personal relationships often deeply entangled with legal principles. This dedication earned me the CALI award in Family Law, and further drove me to actively participate in the Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners (LAMP) clinic, where I provided pro-bono Family Law services to Minnesota prisoners.  

Throughout the years, our staff has deepened its expertise in family law, underpinned by a heartfelt desire to guide clients through their most daunting and intimate life transitions. We specialize in divorce, child custody, and property division and pride ourselves on developing nuanced solutions that respect each family’s distinct circumstances.  

Our introduction to collaborative divorce services marked a pivotal turn in our professional ethos. Observing the heavy toll that adversarial divorce proceedings took on our clients—and on us by extension—we sought a more constructive approach. Collaborative divorce stood out as a process that aligns with our values, mitigating the emotional burdens traditionally associated with divorce.  

Offering collaborative divorce services became a clear choice after seeing its uplifting effects on the divorce process. This approach heralds a spirit of unity and typically culminates in outcomes that satisfy all parties, with the welfare of children taking center stage.  

Embracing collaborative practices, Veritas Legal Associates enriches our legal prowess, renewing our pledge to resolve family law with dignity. Esteemed to offer such services, we guide families to peaceful, respectful resolutions, prioritizing their best interests. Our steadfast commitment is to ensure fair and compassionate legal experiences for all clients.   

As a family lawyer with expertise in divorce, custody, guardianships, and adoption and servicing Southeastern Nebraska including the counties of Lancaster, Gage, York, Seward, Otoe, and Cass. Can you explain collaborative law and collaborative divorce, what it means and how it works?  

At Veritas Legal Associates, we understand that navigating family legal matters can be complex and exhausting, both emotionally and financially. Collaborative law and collaborative divorce offer an alternative approach that prioritizes cooperation and mutual respect, particularly in sensitive matters like divorce.  

Collaborative divorce is a method of resolving disputes outside of the courtroom setting. It involves both parties, their respective specially trained lawyers, and a team of professionals. In addition to the attorneys, the team of professionals includes a financial advisor, therapist(s), and if applicable, a child specialist. The team provides support and guidance throughout the process. All team members are committed to working together to find mutually beneficial solutions on issues such as asset division, child custody, and spousal support for the entire family, not just one person. This approach fosters open communication and encourages the parties to actively participate in crafting agreements that meet their unique needs and circumstances.  

One of the key aspects of collaborative law is the commitment to resolving disputes amicably and without resorting to litigation. Both parties sign a participation agreement, agreeing to work towards a settlement and to refrain from taking the matter to court. If the collaborative process breaks down and litigation becomes necessary, the parties must retain new legal representation, adding a further incentive to work together towards resolution.  

Collaborative law empowers individuals to maintain control over the outcome of their family matters, promoting a more cooperative and less adversarial approach to conflict resolution. By prioritizing the needs and interests of all involved parties, collaborative divorce can often result in more durable and satisfying outcomes and, most importantly, can keep the family relationships intact after a divorce, particularly when compared to traditional litigation.  

At Veritas Legal Associates, we are proud to offer collaborative law services to clients throughout Southeastern Nebraska, including the counties of Lancaster, Gage, York, Seward, Otoe, and Cass. Our team of experienced family lawyers is committed to guiding you through the collaborative process with compassion, professionalism, and dedication to achieving positive outcomes for you and your family.    

For anyone contemplating divorce, separation, modification, or custody in Southeastern Nebraska, but concerned about the possible hurt it could cause you, your spouse and/or your children why should collaborative divorce be considered?  

Collaborative divorce offers a unique approach to resolving family disputes that prioritizes cooperation, communication, and respect. One of the primary reasons why collaborative divorce should be considered is its focus on minimizing the emotional impact on all involved parties. Divorce and family disputes are inherently stressful, but the collaborative process seeks to mitigate that stress by fostering a more amicable and supportive environment. Unlike traditional litigation, which often escalates conflict and pits parties against each other in a courtroom battle, severely damaging familial relationships post-divorce, collaborative divorce encourages open dialogue and collaborative problem-solving. By working together with trained professionals, including lawyers, financial advisors, and mental health professionals, couples can navigate the divorce process with empathy and understanding.  

The biggest benefit of collaborative divorce is the ability for parties to maintain an amicable relationship after divorce, particularly when children are involved. For parents, collaborative divorce offers the opportunity to maintain a positive co-parenting relationship, even after the marriage has ended. By working together to create a parenting plan that prioritizes the best interests of the children, parents can minimize conflict and provide a stable and nurturing environment for their kids during and after the divorce.  

Additionally, collaborative divorce empowers individuals to retain control over the outcome of their divorce. Rather than having a judge make decisions on their behalf, couples have the opportunity to craft creative solutions that meet their unique needs and circumstances. This can lead to more satisfying and durable agreements that lay the foundation for a successful post-divorce future.   

What are the conditions for collaborative law and collaborative divorce? 

 First and foremost, both parties must be willing to participate in the collaborative process in good faith. This means committing to open communication, transparency, and a sincere desire to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. Without genuine cooperation from both sides, collaborative law is unlikely to succeed.  

Secondly, each party must retain their own specially trained collaborative lawyer. These lawyers are not only skilled in negotiation and conflict resolution but also committed to the principles of collaborative law. They will advocate for their clients’ interests while also working towards finding common ground and reaching agreements that benefit both parties.  

Another condition for collaborative law is the willingness to disclose all relevant information and documentation openly and honestly. Transparency is essential to the collaborative process, as it allows both parties to make informed decisions and negotiate in good faith.  

Additionally, collaborative law often involves the use of other professionals, such as financial advisors, mental health professionals, and child specialists. These experts may be brought in to provide guidance and support in areas such as financial planning, co-parenting arrangements, and managing the emotional aspects of divorce.  

Finally, both parties must agree to resolve their dispute outside of the courtroom setting. This means committing to finding solutions through negotiation and mediation rather than resorting to litigation. In fact, one of the key components of collaborative law is a commitment from both parties to refrain from threatening or initiating court proceedings during the collaborative process.  

Without these key ingredients, collaborative divorce is not likely to succeed.   

How successful is collaborative divorce and what happens if the collaborative divorce process fails. What are the options?  

Collaborative divorce has proven to be highly successful for many couples seeking a more amicable and cooperative approach to ending their marriage. While success rates may vary depending on individual circumstances, studies have shown that the majority of collaborative divorces result in mutually acceptable agreements, with fewer post-divorce conflicts and higher levels of satisfaction among participants.  

The success of collaborative divorce lies in its emphasis on communication, cooperation, and problem-solving. By working together with specially trained collaborative lawyers and other professionals, couples are able to address their concerns and interests in a constructive and respectful manner, leading to more durable and sustainable agreements.  

However, it’s important to acknowledge that collaborative divorce may not be the right fit for everyone, and there are instances where the process may fail to produce a resolution. If this happens, there are several options available:  

Transition to Litigation: In some cases, if the collaborative process fails, the parties may choose to pursue traditional litigation to resolve their dispute. This involves each party retaining new legal representation and presenting their case in court for a judge to make a decision.  

Mediation: If the collaborative process breaks down but the parties are still committed to finding a resolution outside of court, they may opt for mediation. In mediation, a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates discussions between the parties to help them reach a mutually acceptable agreement.  

Arbitration: Arbitration is another alternative dispute resolution method where a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, hears the arguments and evidence presented by both parties and renders a binding decision. 

Negotiation: Even if the collaborative process fails, parties can still negotiate a settlement outside of court with the assistance of their lawyers.   

Is collaborative divorce just about problem-solving to minimize the impact of conflict on you, your children, family, and life. What makes a successful collaborative divorce lawyer?  

In a collaborative divorce process, the emphasis is on open communication, negotiation, and reaching mutually beneficial agreements. Rather than resorting to adversarial litigation, collaborative divorce encourages cooperation and understanding between spouses to find resolutions that meet both parties’ needs and concerns.  

A successful collaborative divorce lawyer possesses several key qualities and skills essential for guiding clients through this process effectively:  

Communication Skills: Effective communication is paramount in collaborative divorce. Lawyers must be adept at facilitating constructive dialogue between spouses and ensuring that each party’s interests and concerns are heard and understood.  

Negotiation Skills: Collaborative divorce involves negotiation to reach settlements on various issues such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. A successful lawyer can skillfully negotiate on behalf of their client while maintaining a cooperative atmosphere.  

Empathy and Understanding: Divorce is an emotionally charged experience, and a successful collaborative divorce lawyer demonstrates empathy and understanding towards their clients’ emotions and concerns. They provide support and guidance throughout the process, helping clients navigate difficult decisions with compassion.  

Problem-Solving Abilities: Collaborative divorce often requires creative problem-solving to address complex issues and find mutually acceptable solutions. A successful lawyer approaches challenges with a solutions-oriented mindset, seeking innovative ways to resolve conflicts and meet clients’ goals.  

Commitment to Collaboration: A successful collaborative divorce lawyer is committed to the principles of collaboration and works diligently to foster a cooperative environment throughout the process. They prioritize respectful communication, transparency, and shared decision-making to achieve positive outcomes for their clients.  

Legal Expertise: While collaboration is the focus, a successful lawyer still needs a strong understanding of family law and relevant legal procedures to provide informed guidance and ensure that agreements reached are fair and legally enforceable.   

Is a collaborative divorce less costly than a traditional divorce?  

In many cases, collaborative divorce can indeed be less costly than a traditional divorce. Here’s why:  

Set Price Structure: One of the advantages of collaborative divorce is the ability to agree upon a set price structure at the outset of the process. Unlike traditional litigation, where costs can escalate unpredictably due to ongoing court appearances and legal maneuvers, collaborative divorce typically involves a clear fee arrangement that provides transparency and predictability for both parties.  

Minimized Court Costs: Traditional divorces often involve numerous court appearances, filings, and procedural expenses, all of which can significantly escalate costs over time. Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, aims to resolve disputes through negotiation and mediation, thereby reducing or even eliminating the need for court intervention and associated fees.  

Efficient Resolution of Issues: Collaborative divorce encourages open communication and cooperative problem-solving, leading to more efficient resolution of issues such as asset division, spousal support, and child custody. By avoiding prolonged legal battles, couples can save both time and money in the divorce process. 

Lower Emotional Costs: While not directly financial, the emotional toll of a divorce can have long-lasting effects on individuals and families. Collaborative divorce prioritizes respectful communication and mutual respect, which can help minimize emotional stress and its associated costs, including therapy or counseling expenses.  

Personal Buy-In and Satisfaction: In collaborative divorce, both parties have a personal buy-in to the decision-making process. By actively participating in negotiations and reaching agreements that reflect their interests and concerns, individuals are more likely to feel satisfied with the outcome. This satisfaction can contribute to long-term financial savings by reducing the likelihood of future disputes or litigation over unresolved issues.  

It’s important to note that the cost savings associated with collaborative divorce can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the willingness of both parties to cooperate, and other factors unique to each situation. However, for many couples, choosing a collaborative approach can offer significant financial benefits compared to traditional litigation.   

How long will the Collaborative Divorce process take?  

While the duration of Collaborative Divorce can vary depending on various factors, I’m pleased to offer some insights into what typically influences the timeline:  

Complexity of Issues: The complexity of the issues involved in the divorce can significantly impact the timeline. Collaborative divorce can involve various matters such as asset division, child custody, spousal support, and more. If these issues are straightforward and both parties are amenable to compromise, the process may move more swiftly. However, if there are complex financial assets or highly contested matters, it may take longer to reach agreements.  

Willingness to Cooperate: Collaborative Divorce relies on both parties’ willingness to cooperate and engage in constructive dialogue. If both spouses are committed to the process and actively participate in negotiations, it can expedite the timeline. Conversely, if there are frequent delays or disagreements that hinder progress, it may prolong the process.  

Availability of Professionals: Collaborative Divorce involves the collaboration of various professionals, including lawyers, financial advisors, and mental health professionals (if necessary). The availability and scheduling coordination of these professionals can impact the timeline. Prompt responses and efficient communication among all parties involved can help keep the process on track.  

Court Scheduling (if applicable): Unlike traditional divorces, Collaborative Divorce typically does not involve court appearances. However, if the parties need to obtain court approval for their agreements or if there are ancillary court proceedings involved, such as filing the final divorce decree, the court’s schedule may influence the overall timeline. 

 Preparation and Documentation: Adequate preparation and documentation play a crucial role in expediting the Collaborative Divorce process. Both parties should gather necessary financial documents, disclose relevant information, and come prepared for negotiations to facilitate efficient decision-making.  

While Collaborative Divorce generally offers a more streamlined and efficient alternative to traditional litigation, it’s essential to recognize that each case is unique, and the timeline can vary accordingly. At Veritas Legal Associates, we prioritize guiding our clients through the Collaborative Divorce process with care, efficiency, and a commitment to achieving positive outcomes in a timely manner.  

Isn’t this only for cases where everyone agrees?  

Collaborative divorce is not exclusively reserved for cases where everyone agrees on every aspect of the divorce. While a high level of cooperation and willingness to negotiate is certainly beneficial, it’s not always the case that both parties fully agree on all matters from the outset. In fact, the collaborative process is specifically designed to address conflicts and disagreements in a constructive and non-adversarial manner. 

 In many collaborative divorces, there may be areas of contention or disagreement between the parties. However, the key difference lies in the approach to resolving these issues. Instead of resorting to traditional litigation, where decisions are imposed by a judge, collaborative divorce encourages open communication, compromise, and creative problem-solving with the assistance of trained professionals.  

Collaborative divorce professionals, including lawyers, financial advisors, mental health experts, and child specialists, facilitate discussions and negotiations to help the parties reach mutually acceptable agreements. These agreements may involve compromises and concessions from both sides, but the goal is to find solutions that meet the needs and interests of everyone involved, including any children of the marriage.  

That being said, collaborative divorce may not be suitable for cases involving extreme conflict, domestic violence, or where one party is unwilling to engage in good faith negotiations. In such situations, alternative dispute resolution methods or traditional litigation may be more appropriate.  

Ultimately, collaborative divorce offers a constructive and cooperative approach to resolving conflicts and reaching agreements, even in cases where there are disagreements between the parties. It empowers individuals to have more control over the outcome of their divorce while minimizing the emotional and financial costs typically associated with adversarial litigation.   

How is the collaborative process different from mediation?  

The collaborative process and mediation are both alternative dispute resolution methods used to resolve conflicts and reach agreements, particularly in divorce cases. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences in their approach and structure:  

Collaborative Process: 

Team Approach: Collaborative divorce involves a team of professionals, including lawyers, financial advisors, and mental health experts, who work together to assist the parties in reaching agreements.  

Voluntary Participation Agreement: Before starting the collaborative process, both parties sign a participation agreement committing to resolve their disputes outside of court. If either party decides to pursue litigation, both collaborative lawyers must withdraw from the case.  

Face-to-Face Negotiations: The collaborative process typically involves face-to-face meetings between the parties and their collaborative professionals to discuss and negotiate various issues, such as asset division, child custody, and spousal support.  

Focus on Interest-Based Negotiation: Collaborative professionals facilitate discussions aimed at identifying the underlying interests and needs of each party, rather than focusing solely on legal rights and positions.  

Customized Solutions: The collaborative process allows for customized solutions that address the unique needs and circumstances of the parties and their families.  

Confidentiality: Discussions and negotiations within the collaborative process are confidential and cannot be used against either party in court proceedings.  


Neutral Mediator: In mediation, a neutral third party, known as the mediator, facilitates negotiations between the parties. The mediator does not represent either party and does not provide legal advice. 

Voluntary Participation: Mediation is typically voluntary, and both parties must agree to participate. However, in some cases, courts may order mandatory mediation before proceeding with litigation.  

Focus on Facilitation: The mediator’s role is to facilitate communication and assist the parties in reaching their own agreements. Unlike collaborative professionals, mediators do not actively advocate for either party’s interests.  

Informal and Flexible: Mediation sessions are often more informal and flexible than collaborative meetings, allowing the parties to explore various options and solutions.  

Non-Binding: While agreements reached in mediation are generally non-binding, parties can choose to formalize their agreements into legally enforceable documents, such as a divorce settlement agreement.  

In summary, while both the collaborative process and mediation offer alternatives to traditional litigation, they differ in their approach, structure, and the involvement of professionals. Collaborative divorce involves a team-based approach with a focus on interest-based negotiation and customized solutions, while mediation utilizes a neutral mediator to facilitate communication and agreement between the parties. Ultimately, the choice between collaborative divorce and mediation depends on the parties’ preferences, the complexity of the issues, and the level of cooperation between the parties.  

In Closing:  

At Veritas Legal Associates, we are dedicated to supporting our clients through the collaborative divorce process with integrity, professionalism, and a commitment to achieving favorable outcomes while minimizing the emotional and financial toll of traditional litigation.  

We hope this article provides insight into the essence of collaborative divorce and what distinguishes a successful collaborative divorce lawyer. Should you require further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at  – 


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