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If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is inevitable, the next question is whether to take the traditional way out of your marriage or try something different.

Collaborative divorce is an alternative to litigation, and it has been gaining in popularity.

Exercising control

In considering the best way to go about your divorce, you may be resisting the traditional court process for several reasons. For one thing, it can drag out for months, if not years, depending on the complexity of the property division phase, and it is expensive, especially with the inclusion of significant assets. Of particular concern is the court process itself. A judge will make decisions that will affect your future and the future of your children.

About collaborative divorce

With some professional help, this option allows you and your spouse to work toward a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to you both. You will each hire an attorney specially trained in collaborative divorce and, if necessary, you can bring in outside experts such as accountants, financial advisors or child custody specialists. As compared with standard litigation, this kind of divorce is less expensive and less stressful. It is also a private option, whereas litigation is a public process. With collaborative divorce, you and your soon-to-be-ex will exchange information voluntarily, agree on legal procedures that will help keep costs down, negotiate a workable settlement and draw up a roadmap for making post-divorce decisions.

Going forward

You and your spouse will work separately with your attorneys, but the four of you will also meet on an agreed-upon schedule. If you have children, you will be glad to know that one reason for the growing popularity of collaborative divorce is that it is much easier on kids than a court process that could end in bitterness and anxiety. If you and your spouse believe that you can work together toward a satisfactory settlement, collaborative divorce may be the kind of smart, workable solution you need to end your marriage and begin a new life.