What is a collaborative divorce?

When one thinks of divorce, they often think about two spouses having a go at each other, unable to reach an agreement. While some divorces are high conflict and require the court to step in to sort through the various issues, others are able to come to terms and reach an agreement on their own. Although the couple is able to set aside their differences, they may still require assistance when it comes to working through the process and finalizing a divorce.

What is a collaborative divorce? The collaborative process is an alternative dispute resolution that is based on the concept of cooperation. In this process, both spouses have attorneys; however, they work outside the court to problem solve and reach an agreement. This is a result-focused process used to resolve both divorce and family law issues.

This process differs from mediation, as there is no neutral party helping the divorcing couple reach a resolution. The collaborative process is based on negotiation and cooperation; however, if the couple decides that the collaborative process is no longer working for them or cannot help them resolve all issues, then the couple will turn to the court. If litigation is set to begin, the attorneys that represented the couple during collaboration cannot represent them during litigation.

There is no correct way to divorce, as no two divorces are the same. The factors and issues involved in each divorce are unique and may require more work than others. Therefore, it is important that divorcing spouses understand their rights and options as they move through the divorce process. Whether that is through collaboration or through litigation or any other method, it is vital to understand what works best in your specific situation.


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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

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