While many divorces lead to disagreements between the spouses involved, not all divorces have to be bitter and nasty. The collaborative divorce process is aimed at helping reduce the negative emotions and adversarial nature of divorce litigation. Using mediation and other techniques, it encourages open and respectful communication to resolve their issues and reach a mutual agreement.
Both spouses must agree to voluntarily participate in the collaborative divorce process and they must both fully and honestly disclose information to the other spouse. The spouses will meet each with each other and their attorneys several times to discuss divorce related issues, which may include division of property and spousal support, for example.
If they have children, they may be able to mutually agree to a custody arrangement and a visitation schedule.
Once the spouses agree on all outstanding concerns, they can submit their agreement to the court for approval. Once the court approves their agreement, it will issue a divorce decree and formally end the marriage.
If the spouses cannot agree, they still have the option to go to court.
There are several benefits to the collaborative divorce process. The spouses have more control over the process because they are making the decisions, rather than the court. It also can be less costly and less time consuming than going to court.
Many spouses would also prefer that the details of their divorce remain as private as possible. Collaborative divorce can help with this because there are fewer documents filed with the court.
Collaborative divorce can also help the spouses have a more positive relationship, which can reduce their stress. That may be especially helpful if they have children.