What does collaborative divorce involve?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Divorce

There are many different ways for people to approach the divorce process. Some couples don’t plan ahead and let their emotions dictate their actions. They employ a scorched-earth approach in which they fight over every last detail. They may end up in family court, relying on a judge to settle their disagreements.

Other couples take a hands-off approach where they ask their lawyers to handle negotiations as much as possible. If their lawyers cannot settle matters in a mutually agreeable manner, they may end up litigating property division, financial support and parenting matters in family court.

Most divorcing couples prefer to minimize conflict if at all possible. Achieving that goal often requires a careful approach to the process. Collaborative divorce is one option for those who want to minimize divorce conflict and keep their situation as private as possible. What occurs during a collaborative divorce?

Spouses agree to cooperate

At its most basic, collaborative divorce is all about transparency, self-determination and cooperation. Some people worry about taking an amicable approach to divorce. They fear the possibility that their spouse might back out of the arrangement at the last moment, leaving them at a major disadvantage. During collaborative divorce, it is standard practice to sign an agreement committing to resolving major disputes outside of court.

Spouses may need support to settle disputes

Agreeing to a collaborative divorce does not mean that spouses have already settled their disagreements. In fact, the opposite is typically true. They have numerous issues on which they currently disagree. The goal is to settle matters outside of court. In the collaborative divorce process, the spouses work together with collaboratively trained professionals to assist in resolving their issues. The collaborative team includes an attorney for each spouse. In most cases, the team also includes a neutral financial professional and a communication coach or coaches to support the spouses in fully addressing the issues related to their divorce.

Although bringing in multiple outside professionals is sometimes necessary to settle disagreements between the spouses, doing so can still be more cost-effective than litigating every last dispute. In the collaborative process, the spouses eventually reach an agreement on all necessary terms for their divorce, and they use those agreements to proceed with an uncontested divorce filing.

Collaborative divorce can be a viable option for people in a variety of different circumstances. Considering collaborative divorce as an alternative to a high-conflict, litigated divorce could lead to a more favorable outcome for many couples.