An increasingly popular way to handle family law matters is through “collaborative” processes. This area of dispute resolution allows divorcing partners to still retain attorneys to protect their individual interests, but avoid conflict in court.

The opportunity to make one’s own decisions in a collaborative divorce is an attractive alternative to traditional litigated divorces.

What is a collaborative divorce?

At the start of a collaborative divorce, each spouse hires his or her own attorney. The attorneys work to negotiate the terms of the divorce and reach a mutual resolution rather than take on adversarial roles. Through this cooperation, the parties can resolve their disputes between themselves in an informal setting like mediations and avoid leaving major decisions to the court.

One of the attorneys will draft the documents and file the divorce papers and settlement agreement with the local court after the negotiations end in a set of resolutions. The parties avoid going to court altogether once the court issues a divorce decree.

What are the benefits of collaborative divorce?

Other professionals such as a real estate broker, financial planner, child psychologist and parenting coordinator, all use their expertise to collaborate on the divorce resolutions. These individuals evaluate the specific needs of the divorcing parties, including issues related to minor children and the distribution of personal property or assets.

Additionally, collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial option that allows the spouses to have more control of the outcomes. Their attorneys work with them to closely assess each issue in the divorce.

If both spouses are able to keep an open mind and effectively communicate with their attorneys and with one another, collaborative divorce is a viable option.