Collaborative Family Law And Mediation Services

Is collaborative divorce right for your situation?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Collaborative Divorce |

Even when you and your spouse have agreed to end your marriage and that divorce is the best way forward, you may be hesitant to start the process. You may associate divorce with couples fighting in a courtroom as part of a contentious and stressful proceeding.

Although that may have been the way things worked in the past, today’s divorce options look much different. Many California couples are choosing collaborative divorce over traditional courtroom litigation.

What is collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce is when you and your spouse agree to work with your own attorneys and a team of neutral professionals to negotiate and resolve your divorce issues yourselves. The team can include financial professionals, mental health professionals or anyone else you need to help you through your divorce. With collaborative divorce, you often never set foot in a courtroom.

If you agree to use collaborative divorce, all parties sign an agreement acknowledging this agreement. Collaborative divorce is not always successful. If you do not resolve your case, your collaborative divorce attorneys must withdraw their representation and you may choose to find a new attorney to proceed with courtroom litigation.

Why couples choose collaborative divorce

There are many benefits to using collaborative divorce. It is generally quicker and less costly than litigation.

When you use the court process, you are often at the mercy of the court’s schedule and could wait weeks or months for a divorce hearing. It is not uncommon for couples to have their divorce fully resolved and completed before they would have even gotten into a courtroom otherwise.

Collaborative divorce gives you and your spouse control over the decisions. You both know your situation better than anyone else. This usually leads to a better result than letting a judge, who does not know either of you at all, decide important issues such as child custody or property division.

Confidentiality and guidance

Confidentiality is important to many divorcing couples. Traditional courtroom proceedings are not confidential. Generally, anyone can observe a divorce hearing and divorce documents and information are often available online to the general public.

In contrast, collaborative divorce is confidential and private. No one has access to the documents, negotiations or outcome aside from you, your spouse and your team of professionals.

Collaborative divorce usually provides couples with additional guidance and support. You have access to professionals that are not usually part of traditional divorce. Counselors or therapists can be a great benefit to your collaborative divorce team.

When not to use collaborative divorce

In some situations, collaborative divorce is not the right option. Domestic abuse, untreated substance abuse or mental health disorders are all potential reasons to not use collaborative divorce. It can be difficult or impossible to negotiate and you might need someone such as a judge to make decisions.