Yes, there is an alternative to the traditional courtroom divorce

For some, the word divorce is analogous to war or at least a major battle. However, for many couples who choose to divorce, the decision to end a marriage is mutual and both desire a speedy and amicable end to a marriage. The truth is, divorce can be both and there's nothing necessarily wrong with either. However, for couples who are able to still effectively communicate with one another, the divorce process is often less stressful, expensive and time-consuming.

For couples who choose to end a marriage based upon a mutual realization that things just aren't working anymore, the thought of suddenly lawyering up and heading to court to settle matters they may have already discussed likely seems foreign and bizarre. For these types of divorcing couples, collaborative law provides an alternative that is often preferable to a formal courtroom setting where neither spouse is able to freely discuss and communicate their opinions and thoughts about related divorce matters.

Of course, even in the best divorces, disputes can arise and a couple may find themselves at an impasse about who gets to keep certain personal belongings or whether a proposed settlement is truly equitable. For these reasons, it's important to have legal representation as well as the knowledge and expertise of other types of professionals in fields like finance and psychology.

But what does the collaborative divorce process really look like? Spouses going through a divor


ce who opt for collaboration over litigation, both retain respective attorneys who are present during all meetings and negotiations. In addition, often present during these meetings is a financial professional and, in cases involving child custody matters, a child psychologist. These legal, financial and behavioral professionals provide advice, guidance and information that can be used to help each individual in the settlement negotiation process.

Much like the name suggests, collaboration is an essential component to any successful collaborative divorce. In order to be successful, both parties should come to the table prepared to discuss, negotiate and come to a resolution about important divorce matters.

Source: Buffalo Law Journal, "Mediation on rise in matrimonial cases," Michael Petro, June 17, 2014