Definition of Collaboration

Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution strategy which allows spouses to negotiate an acceptable agreement for a variety of issues with professional help. In a collaborative divorce both spouses hire specially trained collaborative attorneys who have experience negotiating a settlement agreement without going to court. Other professionals such as a child custody specialist or accountants may also be hired.

Collaboration may require both parties to sign an agreement that mandates the attorneys must withdraw from the divorce case if a settlement is not reached and the divorce case goes to divorce court. This arrangement allows all parties to focus on reaching a settlement and avoiding an adversarial divorce proceeding.

Many divorcing couples choose collaboration to avoid the expense and the conflict of a traditional divorce. Under a collaborative divorce each spouse can come to a temporary agreement, voluntarily exchange all necessary information, agree on legal procedures, negotiate a settlement which is beneficial to both parties, and resolve post divorce issues.

Collaboration is a good option for many couples who want to resolve their issues through cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation. Collaboration can also minimize the emotional impact of the divorce on the children by promoting cooperation between all parties. It also allows neutral experts, using constructive communication techniques, to assist the family to come to mutually satisfying decisions. Proponents of collaborative divorce argue that it allows conflicts, emotional issues and relationships to be dealt with flexibly and creatively.

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