By its nature, divorce is an adversarial process. But what happens when a couple wants to end their marriage without behaving like adversaries? In recent years, divorcing couples have started turning to a process known as collaborative divorce.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
According to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals:
“Collaborative Divorce, may be a new way for you to resolve disputes respectfully — without getting to court — while working with trained professionals who are important to all or any areas of your life. The heart of Collaborative Practice or Collaborative Divorce (also called “no-court divorce,” “divorce with dignity,” “peaceful divorce”) is to supply you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without getting to court. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce allows you the advantage of child and financial specialists, divorce coaches and other professionals all working together on your team.”
When Is Collaborative Divorce Appropriate?
First things first: Collaborative divorce is not for everyone. It requires divorcing couples to trust one another and work toward a mutually desirable goal. You shouldn’t consider a collaborative divorce if:
- You’re divorcing a spouse who has gone missing or is incarcerated
- You suspect your spouse of hiding assets
- You and your spouse have difficulty communicating directly with one another
- There has been physical or mental abuse in your relationship
- Your spouse has a tendency to bully or intimidate you
On the flip side, collaborative divorce is appropriate if:
- You and your spouse both agree that you need to get divorced
- You and your spouse have children together and plan to remain part of one another’s lives as your children grow up
- You and your spouse respect one another
- You and your spouse want each other to be treated fairly
- You and your spouse can behave ethically toward one another