Is a collaborative divorce right for you and your ex?

When most people think about divorce, images of ex-spouses battling it out in court often spring to mind. While there are certainly divorce cases in which litigation and the court's involvement are necessary, for many divorcing couples, the collaborative divorce process is more appealing.

The demise of a marriage and subsequent divorce is often a difficult time in which both ex-spouses and shared children are subject to many changes and challenges. For many exes the idea of fighting it out in court with an ex-spouse is counterintuitive and unappealing. In fact, many couples who choose to divorce do so in a civil and rational manner. It makes sense, therefore that these same couples would choose an alternative to the traditional courtroom divorce.

Much like the name suggests, a collaborative divorce is one in which both spouses sit down with their respective attorneys and discuss how to sort out matters related to asset and property division, child custody and child support and alimony. The collaborative process is appealing to many couples who prefer being able to directly speak to and negotiate with an ex-spouse while still having their attorneys present to answer questions, provide advice and assist in negotiations.

A collaborative divorce is often less stressful and expensive. Additionally, according to a 2010 survey by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, nearly 60 percent of collaborative divorces were completed within nine months. The benefits of the collaborative divorce process are largely attributable to the fact that ex-spouses have more control and often share the common goal of resolving a divorce peaceably and as soon as possible.

In addition to each spouse's divorce attorney, professionals that deal with matters such as finance, real estate and children may also be present during collaborative sessions. Individuals who are planning to divorce would be wise to investigate the collaborative divorce process. An attorney who has successfully handled collaborative divorces can answer questions and provide more information about the process.

Source: CNBC.com, "Collaborative divorce can ease emotional, economic stress," Deborah Nason, May 2, 2014