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Is a collaborative divorce a good fit?

Not every divorce involves contention and animosity that prevents two parties from ever seeing eye-to-eye. In fact, many divorcing couples work together to secure mutually agreeable solutions without ever having to go to court.

One way to do this is by seeking a collaborative divorce. However, this type of approach is not right for everyone. 

What is collaborative family law?

Backing up a little, we should explain that a collaborative approach in the context of divorce is an approach where parties work together to resolve matters outside of court.

Each person retains individual legal counsel. All parties then agree to work together and stay out of court. If collaboration is not successful, parties must seek new legal counsel and start the process over.

When collaboration is a good fit

The collaborative law process can be a good fit for parties who are willing to work together to resolve divorce-related matters.

Even if you have complex property issues to resolve or do not initially agree on child custody, you can still find solutions through collaboration. This is because other professionals -- like financial analysts and child custody specialists -- can weigh in on various matters to help parties reach agreements. 

In other words, you don't have to have all the answers or agree to everything initially for collaboration to be effective. However, both parties should be willing to try and work together.

When it may not be right

Collaboration is not right for every situation. For instance, it can be unsuccessful if:

  • Parties do not agree to the process
  • There is a history of abuse
  • There is extreme contention between parties

Further, collaboration is just one out-of-court solution parties may consider. Mediation is another option that can work better for people looking for less formality and commitment.

Deciding what is right for your situation

There are numerous factors you will want to consider when deciding which legal approach may be right for your specific situation and goals. Discussing with your lawyer whether collaborative law, mediation or litigation may be best can be wise.

Ultimately, though, remember that you have options when it comes to resolving family legal matters. Every case is different, and finding the solution that works for you can make it easier to secure an appropriate outcome.

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