A collaborative divorce is one of several methods available to reach a settlement with your spouse. It requires a formal commitment to the process and the open and free exchange of information.
Collaborative divorce is a relatively new option for reaching a divorce agreement with your spouse. According to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, it differs from more traditional methods, such as litigation and mediation, in significant ways.
How is it different from litigation?
Litigation is an adversarial process by its very nature. It can escalate conflict that can negatively affect your children and make cooperation on matters such as shared custody more difficult once the divorce is final. Collaborative divorce places an emphasis on good-faith negotiation and mutual respect. The goal is not to try to win but to reach an agreement.
Collaborative divorce also allows you and your spouse to apply creative problem solving to find solutions that are beneficial for everyone. In litigation, the judge gets the final say. You and your ex-spouse, as well as your children, have to abide by his or her decision whether you like it or not.
How is it different from mediation?
Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation in that each emphasizes a non-adversarial process. The main difference is that mediation involves a third party who acts as a go-between to facilitate discussion between you and your spouse. The mediator has to remain neutral and is unable to give support or advice. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse work with people familiar with the process who act in your interest.
Though not possible for all couples, a collaborative process can reduce the negative impact of divorce and allow you to enter the next phase of your life without conflict.