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The advantages of a collaborative or mediated divorce

Divorce is always painful on some level, but it doesn't have to be an acrimonious, drawn-out, expensive process. Increasingly, spouses are striving to work together to come up with a fair financial settlement and a custody and visitation agreement that keeps the children's best interests in mind. These couples often choose a collaborative divorce or mediation.

Couples who choose one of these divorce processes realize that the important thing is to preserve as many assets as possible rather than settling scores or trying to get everything they can from their estranged spouse. If they have children, obviously, the top priority is settling their differences and in a manner that creates minimal turbulence in their lives and determining how best to co-parent their children moving forward.

With a collaborative divorce, each spouse is represented by an attorney with experience in that type of divorce. Sometimes other professionals such as accountants, child custody specialists and others are brought in to help them work through specific types of issues.

Some couples choose divorce mediation. This process involves a neutral mediator who acts as a third party to help guide the couple as they work out the issues that need to be addressed as they end their marriage. These issues often include child custody and support, spousal support and property distribution. The issues are individual to each couple.

The mediator isn't there to take sides or represent one spouse or another. He or she helps guide the mediation process and keep the discussion on track. Obviously, couples who choose mediation need to be able to work together productively rather than rely on an attorney to speak for them.

If you and your spouse believe that you can settle your divorce using one of these processes, it's certainly worth trying. You can always opt for a more traditional divorce if it's not working. However, if you can work through the issues that need to be settled as you end your marriage with respect and cooperation, you can more quickly and peacefully move on to the next stage of your life.

Source: Forbes, "Avoid The Financial Pitfalls Of Divorce," Michael F. Kay, April 12, 2016

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