These days, not every divorce is a result of bitterness and rancor. Sometimes a couple simply decides they would be happier apart, and divorce is the natural solution. No one relishes having to go through the divorce process, and generally people want to feel that they got their fair share out of the deal. However, for couples who are willing to cooperate to bring things to a satisfactory end, a “collaborative divorce” may be an option.
What is a collaborative divorce?
In a collaborative divorce, each party will retain an attorney, and the parties and their attorneys agree to come to a divorce settlement out-of-court through negotiations. Discussions will be had to come to a mutually-agreed upon decision on all divorce legal issues, including child custody, child support, alimony and property division. Other professionals, such as accountants and therapists, can be consulted during the collaborative divorce process. The key to a collaborative divorce is agreeing to agree. If some divorce legal issue (or all divorce legal issues) cannot be agreed upon, the case must go to litigation with new attorneys. That gives all parties an incentive to make a collaborative divorce work.
Are there benefits to collaboration in a traditional divorce?
Even if the collaborative divorce process fails, or if the parties decide that a traditional, litigated divorce is better than them, there are still some ways that collaboration can be beneficial in a divorce. Sometimes by working together couples can come to a temporary agreement on some divorce issues, providing them with the stability they need to continue working through the process. Through collaboration, financial information and other necessary information can be exchanged voluntarily, which saves both time and money. And, couples can even discuss how they will handle issues that may come up between them post-divorce.
In the end, only you and your spouse can decide if collaborative divorce is right for you. Some couples prefer to handle things between themselves, in hopes of avoiding the stress and sadness that a long, drawn-out divorce can bring. However, even couples who would rather litigate their divorce can benefit from collaboration at least on some level. Cooperation can be key to a satisfactory divorce, whether it is through collaboration or simply going through the process of a traditional divorce.