A couple who does not agree on anything when divorcing may find themselves before a judge. In these cases, the judge is the one who creates the agreement based on his or her assessment of the circumstances. However, couples who wish to keep things more focused and friendly may explore other avenues to get a final decree.
A collaborative divorce is a viable alternative to typical mediation and litigation. The process may resemble mediation, which involves a neutral third party trained in dispute resolution. However, collaborative divorce differs substantially in a few ways.
The collaborative process saves time and money
The purpose of hiring collaborative attorneys is to have guides who can help the couple to reach a compromise in a collective setting. Their attorneys must agree that they will handle the case collaboratively.
The process does not always result in a successful agreement. Couples who cannot negotiate effectively must hire new attorneys to approach the divorce through litigation. If the collaborative approach does work, however, it may reduce the time and money spent on the divorce.
The collaborative approach often means less fighting
Spouses who succeed at a collaborative divorce can negotiate and come to reasonable terms on all issues. They can put aside emotional and personal differences to work on the elements of a divorce that typically trip couples up, such as:
- Child custody and visitation agreements
- Property and debt division
Couples who successfully complete the process often end up with less animosity. Working together can help them avoid the bitter aftertaste litigated divorces often elicit. This frequently results in better co-parenting, ultimately benefiting the children, as well.
A collaborative approach does not work for every couple. For example, cases involving domestic violence or substance abuse are not good candidates for collaboration. However, those couples who are able to complete a collaborative divorce benefit immediately and in the long run.