Your marriage has ended, but you’re just tired of the fight. You don’t want to simply capitulate to be done with the relationship, but you don’t want a long, protracted fight, either. Have you considered the collaborative approach to divorce?
The Collaborative Approach to Divorce
The collaborative approach to divorce is an alternative that can save you time, money and hard feelings moving forward. It looks a little bit like mediation, but has some distinct differences.
In a collaborative divorce proceeding, you and your ex-spouse agree up front to resolve all your differences without the intervention of the court. That means that you, your lawyers, your ex and his/her lawyers all agree to seek cooperative and mutually beneficial solutions to all issues related to the divorce, from custody and visitation to child or spousal support and the equitable distribution of the debts and assets of your marriage.
At the onset of a collaborative divorce proceeding, you’ll usually enter into a “collaborative law participation agreement,” a contract that requires that you:
- Negotiate all issues in good faith, seeking solutions that are beneficial and acceptable to all parties
- Focus your energies on where you will go, not where you’ve been
- Put the best interests of any minor children as a top priority in custody and visitation matters
Because you’ve agreed to attempt to resolve matters without the intervention of the courts, such matters as the division of the marital estate and the best arrangements for custody and visitation are often determined by consulting experts. In the collaborative process, it’s not unusual for the parties to retain a financial planner to propose a fair allocation of property or a child psychologist to suggest the best approach for custody and visitation.