Attorney Michelle MacDonald, Barb Zorn and David Bradshaw have been among the group of lawyers, judges, mediators, mental-health professionals, former Minnesota legislators, and lay-people that have been meeting twice a month for over two years conceptualizing and fine-tuning the Cooperative Private Divorce process, now in it’s final stage.
The Family Innocence Process (“FIP”) has been similar to the Cooperative Private Divorce process, as we educate family members to avoid court, participate in Family Innocence Circles, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution , and go to court only for neccessary orders, in most cases, an order terminating the marriage.
Cooperative Private Divorce takes it a step further, where there are written agreements, no Judges, no court orders, and the a certificate of divorce is issued.
The Cooperative Private Divorce Process
- The process begins with an online orientation that describes the principles, safeguards, and procedures for Cooperative Private Divorce.
- The divorcing spouses submit an Intent to Divorce form to a state agency outside the court system, with records kept private.
- They may choose to employ any advocates and professional support they need.
- Any time after a 90 day waiting period, they submit a Declaration of Divorce form with their agreements on the topics involved in their divorce.
- There is no third-party review or judicial approval of the agreements other than to ensure that the filing process is complete.
- The couple then receive a Certificate of Divorce. All agreements are kept private.
- The couple is responsible for documents needed to implement their agreements, such as QDROs, property title changes, etc.
- The couple may consensually modify their agreements at any time.
- Either spouse can decide to access the court at any time.