Perhaps you and your spouse have decided that divorce is inevitable, but you dread the possibility of a contentious courtroom battle. 

Have you considered collaborative divorce? This option has advantages that can make the business of ending your marriage less painful. 

Understanding the process 

Collaborative divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It is a private process that takes place outside the courtroom in more relaxed surroundings without the need for a judge. You and your spouse would hire attorneys trained in collaborative divorce to assist you in working out a satisfactory divorce settlement. You can also bring in other professionals, such as accountants, child custody specialists and business appraisers if you need additional help as you negotiate your agreement. 

Looking at benefits 

This is a faster and less costly process than litigation. You and your spouse will meet separately with your attorneys, then get together regularly for joint meetings. You can also: 

  • Agree on procedures to simplify the process and reduce costs. 
  • Stabilize your current situation with a temporary agreement. 
  • Exchange information voluntarily. 
  • Agree on the most favorable methods for handling post-divorce issues. 

Keep in mind that if you and your spouse cannot agree on a divorce settlement, litigation is still an option. However, you will both have to engage the services of other attorneys. 

Going forward 

When you decide on collaborative divorce instead of litigation, you are choosing a more dignified manner of ending your marriage, one that allows you to control the outcome rather than having to follow whatever orders a judge may deliver. Many other couples who chose this option found that the collaborative solution was less stressful for children and that it provided a foundation for effective co-parenting and communication going forward. You and your spouse may agree that collaboration serves as a respectful ending for one phase of your lives and as a promising beginning for another.