As experienced divorce attorneys, we often see couples at one of the most challenging and emotional crossroads in their lives: divorce. Divorce is never an easy decision, and it can be even more painful when traditional adversarial litigation adds to the stress. However, there’s an alternative approach to divorce that many might like to consider: collaborative law. In this article, we will discuss the collaborative divorce process to help one assess whether it is the right option for their specific circumstances.

What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a relatively new approach to ending a marriage. It is a non-adversarial method that aims to resolve disputes and conflicts through cooperation and open communication rather than litigation.

How Does It Work?

  • In a collaborative divorce, both parties and their attorneys agree to work together to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. The spouses need to hire attorneys who are specifically trained in collaborative law.
  • The process hinges on open and honest communication. Both spouses, along with their attorneys and other professionals, will meet in a series of sessions to discuss issues, negotiate, and find solutions.
  • Collaborative divorce encourages both parties to look beyond their positions and focus on their underlying interests and needs. This often leads to more creative and personalized solutions to divorce-related issues.
  • The goal is to create an agreement that satisfies both parties’ needs and interests, while avoiding the need to go to court and to litigate matters.

RELATED: Read these top questions and answers about collaborative divorce.

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for You?
Now that you have an idea of what collaborative divorce entails, it’s time to assess whether it’s the right choice for your specific circumstances. Here are some factors to consider:

Willingness to Cooperate: Collaborative divorce requires a commitment to cooperation. If you and your spouse are both willing to work together and prioritize an amicable resolution, this approach may be suitable for you. Parties must also be willing to communicate openly and honestly.

Complexity of Issues: The collaborative process works best when the issues involved are not overly complex or contentious. If you have straightforward financial and child custody matters, collaborative divorce can be highly effective.

Emotional Readiness: Collaborative divorce often leads to better emotional outcomes for both parties, but it still requires dealing with the emotional aspects of the separation. If you’re both emotionally ready to engage in the process, it can be beneficial.

Safety Concerns: Collaborative divorce may not be appropriate if there is a history of abuse or if one party feels unsafe. In such cases, a traditional litigation approach may be more suitable.

Cost Considerations: Collaborative divorce can be cost-effective when compared to a protracted court battle. If you want to save on legal expenses and reduce financial strain, it may be the right choice.

Desire for Control: Collaborative divorce gives you more control over the outcome of your divorce, as opposed to leaving it in the hands of a judge. If you want a say in the final decisions, this approach may be right for you.

Long-Term Relationships: If you and your spouse have children and plan to maintain a co-parenting relationship, collaborative divorce can help build a foundation of cooperation for the future.

As you can see, collaborative divorce offers a constructive and compassionate way to end a marriage, focusing on cooperation and open communication. If you and your spouse are committed to working together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, this approach can lead to a more peaceful and cost-effective divorce process. Collaborative divorce places control back into your hands, and empowers you to shape your future after divorce.

Approaching a divorce and need someone to help guide you through the best option for your situation? If so, our attorneys who are well-versed in divorce, collaborative law, and all family law matters can help. Contact us to set up a consultation however it is most convenient for you—via telephone, video, or in person.

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