Collaborative divorce takes a non-adversarial approach to the divorce process. If properly executed, it can save a significant amount of time, heartache and expense in the long run.

What is collaborative divorce? It is a method of divorce where both spouses hire their own individual attorneys who practice collaborative law. The parties and the attorneys sign an agreement that states that they will negotiate the divorce through a series of four-way meetings. These meetings are often carried out with the assistance of professionals such as child custody evaluators, accountants, and appraisers.

One important thing to keep in mind with collaborative divorce is that if the divorce cannot be settled through these meetings and one spouse seeks a court trial, then both lawyers must withdraw and the parties must seek new legal representation. This requirement provides additional incentive for each party to settle as opposed to hiring a new lawyer.

When properly executed, this strategic divorce can be highly effective. It provides a safe, non-adversarial environment where both parties can communicate freely. The tone is supposed to be one where the parties work together in a positive and respectful manner where they find creative solutions that meet the needs of each individual party. Following collaborative divorce, clients are more inclined to find amicable solutions, they are more likely to communicate in a non-threatening manner and they are more likely to produce a friendly co-parenting relationship for the children. A successful collaboration will help the divorcing spouses move on with their lives, whether they have children together or not.

Collaborative Divorce is separate and distinct from mediation and arbitration. Rather, it is a process where the spouses enter into it voluntarily, on their own terms. Although they may be advised by experts in particular fields, these people do not make the decisions for them. Coming to mutual agreements is at the core of collaborative divorce, as opposed to a compromise where neither spouse is happy with the final result.

If you and your spouse would like the benefit of legal professionals, without having to go to court, this type of divorce is a good option for you. Both you and your spouse will have to hire your own divorce attorneys who are experienced in practicing collaborative law. Your lawyer will inform you of all of your rights, responsibilities and any tax consequences involved in the divorce. Furthermore, because you are taking a proactive approach, both your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will work together, as opposed to working against one another. To learn more about collaborative divorce, contact a family law lawyer today!