What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Five books you MUST read if you're going through a divorce

Choosing an amicable divorce is the best option for you and your family, if it is at all possible. Sometimes, though, even if that is what you want, you may have concerns about your spouse trying to cheat you or you are worried that trying mediation will still end in a court case.  If either of these cases concern you, you can opt for a collaborative divorce.

An amicable divorce is one where you and your spouse, alone or with a mediator, write your divorce agreement.  You agree on everything and aren’t worried that either spouse may be hiding information.  It is by far the easiest and least expensive choice for you both.

A collaborative divorce can happen when you don’t want to go to court, but are worried that your spouse may not be completely honest with you or a mediator.  In a collaborative divorce, you are both informed of your rights and obligations and your lawyers work through all the details with you and your spouse.  It is more expensive as you will have to pay more for services and in lawyer fees.

If you have been separated a long time and just want the divorce over with quickly, a collaborative divorce may be the right choice for you.  You probably won’t have as much emotional baggage to deal with and can still save a little money by not fighting over everything in court.  This type of divorce might be the best option if you have few issues with your spouse and still want to keep it relatively friendly.

Anyone who has a lot of issues with their spouse may want to use a mediator instead of a collaborative divorce because a mediator has been trained to help you and your spouse work through all aspects of your divorce agreement, including any emotional problems you may be having with each other. Many people believe a mediator is expensive, but hiring a mediator is much less expensive than fighting over small details for years in court.

A long court battle should always be the last resort for your divorce.  No matter how hurt and angry you are, try to settle your divorce amicably.  Not only will you save a lot of money and heartache, but the divorce will be final much quicker.  If an amicable divorce is not possible, try a collaborative divorce before you decide to fight about everything in court.

If you are just looking for a settlement in your divorce, most collaborative divorces end with settlements.  This would be a much less expensive option than a court case.  Talk to your lawyer to see which type of divorce would be best for your situation.

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