To many of those who are exploring options for divorce, Collaborative Divorce, a recent addition to the list of ways spouses can get divorced, sounds a lot like mediation. In some ways it IS like mediation, except that in a Collaborative Divorce, both parties still retain their own attorneys to represent them. However, unlike in a traditional divorce setting, both attorneys are working with the mindset of getting the best possible outcome for both parties, as opposed to just representing and fighting for their clients interest only. In fact, the lawyers that specialize and practice in this type of divorce are bound by a different set of rules than those who do not, like putting what is just and fair before their client’s interests. Moreover, if the process breaks down, neither attorney is allowed to represent their client when the case goes to court.
A Collaborative Divorce is a great option for couples who feel that they can work out a divorce settlement amicably amongst themselves, but still want to have an attorney present, to protect them from agreeing to something they don’t understand, and might come back to haunt them later. In addition, much like with mediation, a Collaborative Divorce can be useful in ending the marriage while, in some capacity, preserving and retaining a functional relationship. The process is very organized, and an agenda/plan is set up in advance so that both parties have ample time to prepare for each meeting, in which they will discuss and negotiate (and hopefully compromise) on all the key issues and subjects that must be dealt with in order to move towards a divorce. If you and your spouse have a working relationship, and want to avoid a costly divorce, you should definitely consider a Collaborative Divorce.