Photography by Peter James

Collaborative Law

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a way for couples to end a marriage without going to court. In Collaborative Divorce, couples make their own decisions, create their own solutions, and agree to solve their differences with respect and dignity for each other.

The collaborative process can also be used to solve other family law disputes- parenting plan issues, financial disputes, college support agreements, and the like.

How is Collaborative Divorce different from traditional, or litigated, divorce?

In litigated divorce, each side presents the strongest possible case to convince the court that their position is right. Often, this means convincing the court that the other spouse is wrong, by presenting him or her in the worst possible light.

Collaborative Divorce settles disputes out of court through good faith, communication and shared decision-making.

Collaborative Divorce

Litigated Divorce

Create your own solutions Judge makes decisions
Costs are often more manageable Costs can be unpredictable & high
No court Court is a must if no agreements reached
You and your spouse control the timing and process Process delayed by crowded court calendars
Child-centered Custody-centered
Win/Win is the goal Win is the goal but often neither side does
Direct communication with spouse Communications done through lawyers and court intervention
Healthier post-divorce relationship Bitterness, loss of relationship common
Confidential process Public court hearings

Who can benefit from Collaborative Divorce?

Couples with children

In typical divorces, the court decides what’s best for your children, even though he or she does not know any of you or what is important to you. This often results in negative feelings such as – anger, resentment, and a sense of loss of independence in raising one’s own children. The negative consequences of having a court decide your parenting plan rather than keeping those decisions between you and your spouse court can be damaging to children, and makes raising them with your ex-spouse extremely challenging.

In Collaborative Divorce, your shared values form the basis for decisions on financial matters and child rearing. The solutions you and your spouse create and agree to in Collaborative Divorce can lead to a happier, healthier result for everyone.

Couples who seek to preserve a respectful relationship after divorce

Collaborative Divorce is based in respect and dignity for you, your spouse, and your children. The resentment and bitterness that often accompanies traditional divorce is avoided, making ongoing respectful relationships easier to maintain.

Couples who want to save money

Because Collaborative Divorce avoids protracted court fights and their associated expenses, it is often a more affordable solution. While there are no guarantees, the fees for a Collaborative Divorce case are generally less than a court case.

Parents who wish to maintain relationships with their children

In Collaborative Divorce, the well-being of the children is paramount, and the rights of children and parents to nurture meaningful relationships are protected.

All parents care about their children’s emotional well-being, and want to be there for both their celebrations and challenges throughout their lives. With Collaborative Law, children’s needs are paramount, and lasting, lifelong relationships between parents and children are possible. Through Collaborative Divorce, everyone’s needs are considered when decisions are made.

Couples who want to make their own financial decisions

In traditional divorce, a judge decides who gets the house, who pays spousal support, how much support is paid, how retirement accounts are divided, and other financial decisions affecting your family. In Collaborative Divorce, you and your spouse make the decisions that work best for your family. You decide how to handle dividing assets and debts.