In the past when couples divorced, they would have to appear in court. A court divorce trial can be both expensive and emotionally draining for both spouses, as well as for any children in the relationship. Nowadays, divorcing couples have the option to take another route in their divorce proceedings that totally bypasses going to court. This option is a collaborative divorce.
In a collaborative divorce, the couple dissolves their marriage without going to court. In this type of divorce, both spouses hire a lawyer specifically trained in collaborative family law, and then both lawyers work together with both spouses to come up with mutually beneficial resolutions to their divorce issues. Neither attorney will go to court, both parties agree to an honest exchange of information, there are no games being played, no name calling, but instead, all involved in the divorce work together to resolve the divorce peacefully.
When the divorcing couple agrees to begin a collaborative divorce, both they and their lawyers sign an agreement stating they will not take the case to court. This process permits only open, cooperative and respectful dialogue between all concerned parties, and aims for outcomes that benefit both spouses as well as their children.
One option in a collaborative divorce is to use the full team approach, which includes a mental health professional called a coach, who can help both spouses through the emotional aspects of divorce, a financial specialist to aid in assisting both parties with financial decisions and divisions, and finally, a child specialist, who can provide both spouses with an understanding of what is best for minor children.
There are those cases in which the collaborative process breaks down and the spouses demand on taking the case to court. In these instances, both collaborative lawyers must resign from the case and the divorcing couple must hire new attorneys to represent them in court.
Although divorce is never easy, a collaborative divorce does give couples a way to get through the divorce with minimal damage, and increases the chance of retaining a friendly post-divorce relationship as well.