An increasingly popular way to handle family law matters is through “collaborative” processes. This area of dispute resolution extends to divorces, allowing couples to avoid conflict in court but still retain attorneys to protect their individual rights.

Some divorcing spouses find that the opportunity to make their own decisions is an attractive alternative to traditional litigated divorces.

What is a collaborative divorce?

In a collaborative divorce, each spouse hires his or her own attorney. The attorneys do not take on adversarial roles, but rather work to negotiate the terms of the divorce and reach a mutual resolution. This cooperative process allows the parties to resolve their disputes between themselves in an informal setting like mediations rather than leaving the decisions up to a judge.

After the negotiations end in a set of resolutions, one of the attorneys will draft the documents and file the divorce papers and settlement agreement with the court. If the judge approves the papers, then the parties avoid going to court altogether.

What are the benefits of collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial option that allows for more control of the outcomes. The attorneys will help their clients review all issues pertaining to the divorce. Additionally, other professionals such as a financial planner, real estate broker, parenting coordinator and a child psychologist, all collaborate on the divorce resolutions. These individuals assess the specific needs of divorcing families including issues related to distribution of assets or personal property and any details regarding minor children.

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