What is a collaborative divorce?

A collaborative divorce is one that occurs out of court and without a judge; rather, the parties work together with the help of legal, financial, and child custody professionals to come to an agreement outlining the terms of their divorce.  To be successful, the parties must see the process of a collaborative divorce as a method of resolution and not an opportunity for confrontation.

Is a collaborative divorce right for you?

Before beginning the collaborative divorce process, evaluate the relationship between you and spouse/partner to determine if you are in a place where collaboration is even possible.  As architects of the settlement, it is important that each of you are committed to making decisions based upon reason, rather than fear, anger or resentment.

The following questions can be helpful to determine if a collaborative divorce is the right option for you and spouse/partner:

  • Do you trust one another?
  • Do you respect one another?
  • Are you able to prepare for and keep scheduled meetings?
  • Are you able to effectively communicate with one another (without interrupting or walking away from the speaker)?
  • Are you willing to be an active listener?
  • Can you clearly express your needs and be receptive to his or hers?
  • Are you aware of your own goals for the divorce settlement?
  • Are some of these goals flexible?
  • Are you able to set aside emotions to work towards a global case resolution?
  • What, if any, impact does the absence of a judge have on your view of the divorce process?
  • Are you committed to an out of court resolution?

What are the benefits to a collaborative divorce?

The timeline for a collaborative divorce can be shorter than a traditional in-court divorce as the parties are not bound by the court’s calendar.  Costs can also be less as the parties hire neutral joint experts and their attorneys are trained to work towards settlement.  Time and costs aside, a collaborative divorce can also help start the emotional healing process for both parties and create a foundation for solving other issues which may arise in the future, such as changes in child custody or support.