Most people don’t walk into their marriage assuming they are going to end up divorced, but sometimes events in life make this the inevitable choice. When that happens, divorcing spouses have to decide whether to make this a lengthy, drawn-out battle or a collaborative effort.

In many cases, both spouses decide that, for the best of everyone, they want a collaborative divorce. This occurs when both parties are able to come to an agreement without going to divorce court.

8 Steps to Collaborative Divorce

  1. Both spouses agree that a divorce is the ultimate end to their marriage and they want it to be as painless as possible. Each party must agree that they will work together to find a compromise that is mutually acceptable.
  2. Both parties agree to retain a collaborative attorney to help them with any legal concerns. While basic marriage dissolutions can feasibly be done without a lawyer, if any children, finances, or property is involved, it is recommended that the divorcing couple consults with an expert. You can research family law attorneys like the ones at you find when you visit to find a collaborative lawyer for each spouse.
  3. Each party signs a “no court” agreement.  In general, a collaborative attorney is not a trial attorney. You will likely have to sign an agreement that if you can not come to a settlement through negotiation, the attorney will withdraw. If an agreement is not reached and you must go to court, most collaborative attorneys will not represent you at that point.
  4. Meetings are scheduled with your attorneys. You will each meet with your individual attorneys separately to discuss your goals for the divorce proceedings. Then all four of you will meet to try to negotiate a settlement agreement. This process may be repeated until an agreement is reached.
  5. Your collaborative attorneys may consult with other experts. Sometimes other professionals will need to be involved. This generally happens when there is a dispute or concern regarding child custody or tax considerations.
  6. You may consult with a licensed mediator. If even after other experts have been consulted, you still can’t come to an agreement, your attorney may bring in a licensed mediator. This is a person who can strategically guide both divorcing spouses to an agreeable compromise.
  7. Reach an agreement. Through your attorney, experts, and a licensed mediator, you should be able to collaborate in a dignified, moral manner to reach an agreement that benefits everyone involved.
  8. Contact the court to file your papers. When you file, it should be a simple procedure because you have gone through the process of a collaborative law divorce.

Collaborative Law Divorces: Helping You Turn the Page

A divorce is always stressful, but by agreeing to work together to make it as beneficial as possible, you can move forward with as little hostility and bad terms as possible. Working together through a collaborative law divorce is a smart, cost-effective way to close one chapter and begin another.