A Better Way to End Your Marriage: Collaborative Divorce

If you and your spouse are looking for a noncombative way to end your marriage, a collaborative divorce could be the perfect method for you. You and your spouse should be on good terms with each other, however, since this type of divorce requires the willingness to communicate in a respectful manner. The goal of a collaborative divorce is to part ways with your partner with as little acrimony as possible, thereby keeping your divorce out of the court system.

What is a collaborative divorce?

This relatively new take on the sometimes-acrimonious legal process of divorce has been around for several years, but it has slowly been gaining ground more recently. For a collaborative divorce to be successful, couples must take a team approach, enlisting the aid of both parties' attorneys in addition to other experts of their choosing, such as mental health and financial professionals. The idea of two attorneys who are usually on the opposite sides working in tandem is radical, but those attorneys who practice collaborative divorce have an alternative viewpoint of divorce, one that is more about cooperation and less about racking up high courtroom fees.

How does a collaborative divorce work?

For this concept to work, the process must involve these factors:

  • Honest and complete disclosure of all financial information, including the presentation of all pertinent documents, such as bank accounts, tax returns, investment accounts, deeds, titles, etc.
  • Issues are discussed one at a time, with deviation from the issue at hand being discouraged.
  • Issues in dispute are resolved using conflict resolution methods. Just as in a traditional divorce, issues that concern child custody and support, alimony (spousal support), debt, and property division are often the most divisive.
  • The final step in the collaborative divorce process is the court filing of a legally binding divorce agreement.

How can a collaborative divorce benefit me?

  1. Finances: Collaborative divorces are less costly because they can be accomplished without the need for expensive court costs; one quick meeting before the judge is usually all that is required.
  2. Time: The entire courtroom situation is fraught with delays and postponements, resulting in months spent simply waiting to go before the judge. A collaborative divorce is sometimes a bit more time consuming to mediate at the beginning, but little to no courtroom time is needed.
  3. Emotion/stress: The entire process is built to be less stressful, with issues being worked out in an informal setting, and in general a more thoughtful and kinder process is employed.

Contact a divorce attorney to learn more about this easier, gentler way of ending a marriage.