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What is collaborative divorce and will one work for you?

Many people think of divorce as a kind of interpersonal warfare, but conflict during divorce is a result of high emotions, not something that absolutely has to complicate the process.

Some couples may recognize that their marriage is over and understand that divorce is likely the only way forward for their family. If they can still respect and work with one another, they can potentially avoid the fighting so common in divorce.

If you and your ex agree that divorce is necessary, you may be able to reduce the conflict and costs associated with the end of your marriage by working together for a collaborative divorce.

What is a collaborative divorce?

As the name implies, a collaborative divorce involves cooperative work or collaboration between spouses who want to divorce. In a collaborative divorce, the spouses will usually work together to address all of their concerns before they ever file any paperwork with the family courts.

Issues like custody, alimony and the division of property all get addressed before you even notify the courts that you intend to divorce. Once you agree on terms, you can put them into a written agreement that will guide the divorce process. Reaching an agreement ahead of time will turn court dates into mere formalities where a judge reviews your paperwork and finalizes the terms you set.

Could a collaborative divorce be an option for you?

Collaborative divorce is increasingly popular because it reduces tensions between people who may have to co-parent together after the divorce and also helps keep the costs of divorce lower. It’s worth noting that a collaborative divorce will keep the unpleasant details of your divorce, such as information about an affair, private.

Provided that you can be honest and transparent and are both willing to compromise, collaborative divorce can be a civil way to end your marriage. Couples with a history of violence, spouses with a history of lying and those with uneven power dynamics in their relationship may not benefit from collaborative divorce as much as the average family will.

Talking about your family dynamics with a lawyer can give you a better idea about whether collaborative divorce might be an option that benefits you.