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What's a collaborative divorce?

You might have heard the terminology "collaborative divorce" and have been immediately put off by the thought that you and your ex could ever see eye-to-eye on anything. You may be especially skeptical about the prospect that you could ever reach an amicable resolution to something as emotionally-charged as the end to your marriage.

In case you're unfamiliar with the terminology "collaborative divorce," it's a type of alternative dispute resolution that's become increasingly popular in the last few years. It's grown in popularity because it allows couples an opportunity to reach a settlement in their divorce outside of the courtroom and instead at the table with their ex and their respective attorneys.

When couples choose collaborative divorce, they are required to sign a document affirming their choice to resolve their differences via this method. In the agreement, it lays out the ground rules for how the collaborative process is expected to go.

First, the couple agrees to try to work out a conclusion to their marriage in a level-headed and constructive way. They also agree to be upfront and honest in the disclosing either documents or information necessary for them to reach a fair settlement in their divorce case.

While it's possible that a couple will decide that the collaborative law process is not an ideal way from them to reach a settlement in their divorce case, it can be a game changing one. This is because, according to the way these types of agreement are written, both spouses must discontinue using the services of their collaborative law attorney if they decide to pursue litigation instead.

During the course of collaborative divorce discussions, there's a strong likelihood that added experts will be brought in to help improve communication between spouses. For example, a therapist may be brought in to work on familiar relations if there's evidence of some type of strain. While this might seem a bit strange, it can greatly improve the couple's communication.

Aside from improving familiar communication, resolving a marriage through the collaborative process can be less expensive than handling it through the litigation process as well.

If you have kids or you're looking to remain friends with your spouse post-divorce, you may find that resolving it with the help of an Erie, Pennsylvania, family law attorney to be best.

Source: FindLaw, "Collaborative family law overview," accessed July 14, 2017

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