Learning more about cooperative divorce solutions in Connecticut

The word "divorce" can conjure up all kinds of negative emotions. Fear. Stress. Panic. Anger. Sadness. Contention. Angst. It doesn't have to be that way, though. While there will always be some sense of loss when a marriage ends, it is possible to get through the process with civility and respect.

How, you may ask? By exploring a cooperative, non-adversarial, out-of-court solution like mediation or collaborative divorce.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process by which the couple agrees to sit down with a neutral third party - a trained mediator - to reach a settlement of the disputed parts of their divorce. Mediation is helpful in all types of legal claims, including civil lawsuits and employment disputes, but it is uniquely suited to the divorce process. Mediation allows the couple to work together to come up with workable solutions that are tailored to fit their particular needs.

The use of mediation in the divorce process has increased dramatically in recent years, both across Connecticut and around the country. Mediation's popularity comes because it is cost-effective, it often takes considerably less time than traditional litigation and it puts the parties themselves in control of the outcome.

Unlike in a courtroom setting, the parties in a mediation aren't bound by the whims of an impartial observer like a judge. The mediator doesn't actually make a determination about how to settle the couple's disputes, but instead facilitates their own cooperation so that they may find solutions on their own. Mediation has proven to be particularly helpful in divorce cases where children are involved, because the parties are in a much better position to co-parent when they haven't gone through an embattled, antagonistic court battle and have proven that they can reach solutions without animosity.

What is collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new process that, like mediation, stresses that the parties need to work together to resolve their disputes. Also like mediation, it is a non-adversarial process focused on respect, cooperation and civility. Unlike mediation, though, collaborative divorce doesn't just have a single person helping the couple reach a solution, but instead relies on a team of experts with the special skills needed to provide input on particular issues.

The following independent professionals are often used as part of a collaborative divorce team:

  • Attorneys for both parties who will advocate on their client's behalf
  • Financial experts who will examine the couple's finances, holdings, assets and debts in order to help them reach a marital property settlement
  • Mental health professionals
  • Divorce coaches to keep the couple on track
  • Child advocates who look out for the best interests of the children while the couple is negotiating custody and visitation/parenting time

Depending on your unique circumstances, you may or may not need the entire collaborative team to handle your divorce.

Want to learn more about cooperative divorce solutions like mediation or collaborative law? Speak with an experienced Connecticut family law attorney for more information about various options available to resolve family-related disputes both in and out of the courtroom.