Collaborative Law vs Traditional Divorce Law: What You Need to Know

Collaborative law exists to help divorcing couples find a better, less contentious, way to divide assets, manage custody and support of minor children, and dissolve their marriage with as little acrimony as possible. That sounds impossible, right? It doesn’t have to be. While a divorce is never exactly a happy experience, an amicable one can be the first step in living a happier life. If you’ve heard that collaborative law involves giving up and acquiescing to your former spouse’s every demand, you may be glad to learn that collaborative divorce law involves honest, interest-based negotiation. In many cases, it is a faster, easier, and more cost-effective way to divorce.

In a collaborative law divorce, couples may speak to a single arbiter rather than each paying a separate attorney. Of course, both parties may hire their own attorneys if they like. Note that if negotiations break down, the mediator cannot then be hired as a lawyer by either side. Collaborative law divorces, unlike traditional divorces, aren’t litigated in court. This means that very few people will have access to the intimate details of your situation. Some say that collaborative law divorces are easier for children since they see parents calmly resolving issues rather than engaging in petty screaming matches.

Collaborative law divorce is not for everyone. If you worry that your spouse has not been forthcoming about assets or possessions, if there’s been a major breach of trust, or if you and your spouse can’t agree on big issues like custody, you may be better off hiring your own attorney and pursuing a traditional divorce. If you’re concerned that your former spouse might become punitive, intentionally hurtful, or is actively resisting the divorce, again, hiring an attorney to look out for your needs is a good idea. However, increasingly couples are finding that a collaborative law divorce is a simple and straightforward way to leave their marriage on good terms and with their dignity firmly intact.


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