You and your spouse have reached the point where you can no longer continue being married. However, you don’t want your divorce to be combative. You just want to work out a fair division of property and a custody agreement (if you have children) and start the next chapter of your lives.
You’ve heard about collaborative divorce, and you like the idea of being able to work out your agreements with your spouse while still able to have your own attorney there to advise you throughout the process if you choose (as will your spouse). You can still bring in other professionals like financial advisors or child psychologists, but they will be there to help you reach mutual agreements – not to contribute to a “they said/you said” fight.
Important questions to consider
A collaborative divorce is meant to help couples end their marriage in a civilized, cost-effective manner that will leave them both feeling the process was fair — but it’s not for everyone. Before you and your spouse decide to use collaborative divorce and sign that “no court” agreement, you need to ask yourselves some tough questions – and answer honestly. For example:
- Do you need to maintain a relationship with your spouse after divorce because you have children and/or a business together?
- Do you feel safe negotiating with your spouse? Will having an attorney with you provide the security you need?
- Do you still have respect for your spouse – at least enough to work with them on this?
- Are you willing to try to be reasonable, to make some compromises on things that aren’t important to you to get things that are (or just to help things go more quickly and smoothly)?
A collaborative divorce can save a lot of money compared to a litigated one. Most importantly, it can also save considerable stress on you and your family. If you have children that you’ll be co-parenting, that’s extremely important.
It also provides a level of privacy that a litigated divorce doesn’t. You may not be Brad and Angelina famous, but you probably don’t want the people at your clubs, your office or in your charity work knowing (or thinking they know) the details of your divorce. If it’s right for you, collaborative divorce can be the best way to end a marriage.