Sometimes marriage just doesn’t work out. Love and its aftermath can be emotional to say the least. Fortunately, it does not mean that the divorce needs to be a train wreck. In a collaborative divorce the parties and their respective specially trained attorneys sign an agreement not to go to court over the matters in dispute.  

Parties meet on set schedule with specific agenda to discuss issues in a courteous and respectful matter.  When needed, the group can agree to bring in other collaborative professionals such as a child specialist, a financial neutral or divorce coach.  Almost everyone knows somebody that has been though an expensive and highly acrimonious divorce. What does it do to families? Is that what you want for your family? Of course not!

In a collaborative divorce decisions are made jointly and in the end the parties will arrive at a written and comprehensive settlement Agreement.  Generally collaborative law is less expensive than going to court.  While at times it can be challenging work the rewards are well worth the effort.

The linchpin of collaborative law is the fact that if the process breaks down the parties will need to hire new lawyers to begin the litigation process.  At first, many people do not understand this but it makes sense. Believe it, or not, this is a good thing; here is why:  with this provision in place the parties are “all in” from the beginning. All issues can be discussed fully and confidentially since going to court is off the table. Collaborative law is similar to mediation because of its confidentiality component. But unlike mediation you will have your lawyer with you every step of the way.

When looking to do a peaceful/collaborative divorce these are the things you need to know right from the start. There are plenty of collaboratively trained attorneys out there to assist you so that all of your important follow-up questions can be answered.

By Michael A. Mastracci, Esquire