You're meeting with an attorney to discuss your upcoming divorce and hear a phrase that is new to you: collaborative divorce. The attorney explains it to you and says you and your soon-to-be-ex could be a candidate for this type of divorce, but you want to learn more before making up your mind.
It's an emerging way to finalize a divorce, created in the early 1990s in Minnesota as a way to promote more civil and straightforward divorces. Since then, the concept has spread from state to state and even internationally.
Under collaborative law, participants are committed to resolving divorces – and the companion factors that include property division, child custody and support, and spousal support – amicably. They agree to negotiate in good faith and fairly.
You still need to be represented by your own attorney, but they also are committed to the process. If either party decides to stop the collaborative process and pursue litigation, then the collaborative law attorneys must withdraw from the case.
In a collaborative divorce, all parties will meet on neutral grounds to discuss the divorce. In the negotiations, both sides are expected to take part in a manner devised to work toward a positive, agreeable resolution.
Other people could be brought into the collaborative process if the sides agree that professionals are needed for things such as asset valuation.
There are numerous benefits to a collaborative divorce over a litigated divorce. Successful collaboration can lead to divorces that are faster and less expensive, and they also can save stress on the relationship between the two people divorcing and their extended families, too.
If you are on relatively friendly terms with your spouse and are confident you could work through issues amicably, an attorney experienced in collaborative divorce should be your first call.