When facing divorce, visions of a lengthy, expensive courtroom battle may spring to mind. This is something you would probably like to avoid at all costs.
Fortunately, you have options, and one is a form of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, called collaborative divorce. The ability for participants to control the outcome is one reason this process has become so popular.
How it works
Unlike mediation, the collaborative divorce process only involves the divorcing couple and their respective attorneys. No mediator is present. The attorneys provide legal guidance and negotiation expertise while the couple works toward developing their divorce agreement. With this form of ADR, it is not unusual for attorneys to engage the help of outside professionals, such as accountants, social workers and child custody specialists, if needed.
The collaboration process helps facilitate a divorce in several ways:
- Promotes the voluntary exchange of information
- Stabilizes sticking points with a temporary agreement
- Secures agreement on legal procedures to reduce costs and accelerate the process
- Negotiates a settlement satisfactory to both parties
- Sets a process in motion for making post-divorce decisions
As compared to litigation, collaborative divorce is a private process that is less expensive, less stressful and less contentious. In most cases, it takes considerably less time, but most importantly, it allows the parties to control the outcome of the decision to end their union.
Your objective in a collaborative divorce is to reach a divorce agreement that satisfies both you and your soon-to-be-ex. Your attorneys are motivated to assist you in attaining that goal because if the collaborative process fails, everyone loses. Your attorneys must bow out of the case, and you and your spouse will have to find other lawyers to represent you in court. Keep in mind, however, that failure is rare. Most couples find that this form of alternative dispute resolution works well for them and helps create a successful transition into the next stage of life.