If your marriage is no longer working and divorce becomes inevitable, you probably dread having to endure a public courtroom battle.

However, litigation is not your only option. Consider collaborative divorce. The more you know, the more you will understand why it is gaining in popularity.

How it works

Both you and your spouse will engage the services of attorneys specially trained in collaborative divorce methods. You will meet separately with your lawyers, and you will all meet together in regularly scheduled sessions. With the benefit of legal guidance, the goal is for you and your soon-to-be-ex to work out a divorce agreement satisfactory to you both. The only time you will have to appear in court is when you present the agreement for the judge’s signature.

Advantages of collaborative divorce

Through the collaboration process, you and your spouse can exchange information voluntarily in a more relaxed atmosphere outside of court. You can reduce expenses and streamline the process by agreeing on the legal procedures required. In addition to working together to develop a settlement, collaboration enables you to agree on how to handle post-divorce issues. If you are raising minor children, the more important considerations will include how you plan to communicate about them and work out problems. Collaboration is a more dignified and disciplined path to divorce and much easier on children than litigation, which can drag out for months, if not years, and end with frustration and bitterness.

Next steps

Discuss the concept of collaborative divorce with your spouse. If the two of you believe that you can work together in creating a suitable settlement agreement, this may be the perfect solution. Explore your legal options, and learn about the pros and cons of this increasingly popular process. If, in your opinion, there are more of the former than the latter, this could be the best way for you to end one phase of your life and begin the next.