A voluntary dispute resolution process with the expectations of settling the divorce without going to court. Each party has their own lawyer. A financial neutral. And each party benefits from a coach and child specialists. Everyone shares open communication and information sharing. If you feel the need to get guidance from an attorney for your interests every step of the way, you might find collaborative divorce a better option than mediation. If there are dynamics in your relationship with your spouse that leave one or both of you feeling you have a distinct disadvantage in conversations about difficult subjects, you might want the added insulation and structure provided by collaborative divorce.  When compared to litigation, this process can have greater efficiency, lower cost, and can be less time-consuming. When compared to a traditional attorney-centric process, a collaborative process is less formal and has much more flexibility, which may increase the likelihood of cooperation between you and your partner. This provides a forum for you outside of court, which is important to lower the emotional toll divorce may have on you. A couple of features about this process:

  1. You and your spouse/partner retain an attorney to represent each party.   
  2. You generally use a neutral facilitator who most likely has a specialty in adult communications or family dynamics.  
  3. Your case will also involve a neutral financial professional who is collaboratively trained.
  4. Both parties may engage other experts as needed. For example, using a child specialist to create a parenting plan. 
  5. The goal is to minimize the financial, emotional, and time costs to your family.  
  6. Your professional team will not go to court. All parties sign a "no court" agreement.