What Is Collaborative Divorce?

When divorcing spouses cannot agree on all aspects of their divorce settlement, one option to help resolve their issues is mediation. But sometimes, mediation alone isn’t enough. In cases like these, a collaborative divorce may be an option to resolve your issues without taking the case to court.

What is collaborative divorce? 

Collaborative divorce is a legal process in which each divorcing spouse has their own lawyer. Other professionals may be involved as well, including mediators, CDFAs, or therapists. Through a series of meetings, the divorcing spouses and their lawyers negotiate a marital settlement agreement that everyone can accept.

Input from the other professionals we mentioned (CDFAs, therapists, etc.) is highly valuable in collaborative divorce. It can help the divorcing couple and their lawyers make informed decisions. Notably, however, it can take time to coordinate everyone’s schedule. Thus, a collaborative divorce can be time-consuming. It can also be expensive, given the professional time involved. But if mediation isn’t enough and you want to stay out of court, it’s an option worth considering.

Required: A willingness to collaborate

Not surprisingly, a collaborative divorce requires both spouses to be willing to collaborate. Both people must participate honestly and openly with mutual respect for one another.  It can be difficult to feel like cooperating with someone who has angered or hurt you during your marriage.  However, it may be in your best interest to do just that. 

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Note: If your marriage has a history of domestic violence or abuse, collaborative divorce may not be the best option for your divorce.

Benefits of collaborative divorce

Collaborative divorce avoids court

One of the biggest benefits of collaborative divorce is avoiding court – the time, the expense, and the contentiousness. Divorce is often portrayed as two people yelling and screaming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When you come together with a collaborative mindset, you’re more likely to have a fruitful process.

You get legal help

Although collaborative divorce keeps you out of court, you still work with an attorney – and quite possibly other professionals who can guide you. In other words, you are not alone in your divorce process. 

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Kids experience less stress

A collaborative divorce is more peaceful than a litigated divorce. While you and your spouse have your differences, you can both agree that the kids come first and should be protected. With a team of lawyers and other professionals on your side – and your commitment to resolving disputes with a cool head – you’ll feel more at peace, and so will the kids. They’ll see you and your soon-to-be ex handling divorce with mutual respect for one another, and they’ll benefit from that.

Collaborative divorce is not “taking the easy way out.” It requires you to roll up your sleeves, work with other professionals, and negotiate with your spouse. But you can reach your goal with fewer headaches, and you can stay out of court.

Is collaborative divorce right for you?

Collaborative divorce may be right for you if mediation alone is not enough to resolve your case, yet you want to establish your divorce terms as amicably and peacefully as possible. You must be willing to make compromises. If you don’t compromise, collaborative divorce won’t work. This doesn’t mean you have to give in to everything your spouse wants – they have to compromise, too – but you’ll need to make sacrifices.

Come to the collaborative table willing to discuss your disputes honestly and transparently. If you’re unwilling to put in the time and work, your divorce will take longer, cost more, and drain you emotionally.

Our goal at Hello Divorce is to help people before, during, and after the divorce process. Divorce does not have to be as expensive and stressful as it often is. To learn more about the services we offer, schedule a free 15-minute phone call.

For tips on negotiating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, check out these recommended readings:

Divorce Specialists
After spending years in toxic and broken family law courts, and seeing that no one wins when “lawyer up,” we knew there was an opportunity to do and be better. We created Hello Divorce to the divorce process easier, affordable, and completely online. Our guiding principles are to make sure both spouses feel heard, supported, and set up for success as they move into their next chapter in life.