When a married couple mutually agrees that they no longer wish to continue the marriage, they may be able to avoid some of the emotional pain and financial complications of a traditional divorce by pursuing a collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is a legal process that is non-adversarial. Rather than fighting one another in the courtroom, a married couple can seek legal help to amicably work out the terms of their divorce in a way that preserves the interests of each spouse and their children. Not only can collaborative divorce help the parties reach a mutually agreeable outcome, but collaborative divorce can also help to minimize the time and financial costs associated with pursuing an action in divorce court.
In a collaborative divorce proceeding, each party retains his or her own attorney. The parties and their lawyers then meet regularly, often with the help of a mediator who guides the couple into a mutually acceptable agreement. Other professionals, such as marriage or divorce counselors and psychologists, may also play a role in these meetings to make sure that each side is adequately represented and that outstanding issues are resolved. This approach allows the couple to take some of the hostility out of the divorce proceedings, to devise a mutually acceptable settlement, and to agree on ways in which post-divorce conflicts will be resolved.
One of the most important benefits of a collaborative divorce is that the parties are able to control how the divorce happens. Although many people may be under the impression that they can “win” more in court, divorce courts sometimes make decisions with which neither party is happy. In collaborative divorce, each spouse can explain what rights and benefits he or she holds important, and the parties can negotiate ways in which both of them can exit the divorce proceedings with an outcome that serves their best interests.
Collaborative divorce can be particularly beneficial when children are involved. Traditional divorce can take a significant emotional toll on a children who must watch their parents fight a legal battle. In collaborative divorce, on the other hand, the parties negotiate with one another and take a personal approach to reaching an outcome that protects their children’s best interests. By taking a mature and amicable approach to divorce, parents can soften its emotional impact on their children.
If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you may want to consider a collaborative divorce instead of a traditional divorce. In order to make the best decision for you and your family, get the advice of an attorney who is experienced in both family and collaborative law. Your lawyer will be able to explain in more detail how collaborative divorce works and guide you through the process. With the assistance of an experienced lawyer, you can protect your rights, reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable to both you and your spouse, and minimize the stress of the divorce process.