A marriage is a partnership, and like all partnerships, it's a collaborative effort. As difficult as it can be to end a marriage, it can often be less painful if you and your soon-to-be former spouse are able to continue your collaboration for just a little bit longer. Will a collaborative divorce work for you?
A collaborative divorce is a formal agreement between both parties, which means that instead of litigating, you will come to a mutual agreement about the dissolution of your marriage via a series of structured mediations.
Satisfies Both Parties
These mediations are simply discussions where you work together to divide assets in a manner that you both consider to be fair, along with determining custody arrangements (if you have children), as well as alimony or any other financial support. It's a means to reach a conclusion that satisfies both parties.
It's not just going to be the two of you discussing the necessary steps to dissolve your marriage, and you will both require a divorce attorney, who will participate in the proceedings. This means that the practicalities and legalities of your decisions are properly addressed during your discussions. Your attorney will have been briefed on the outcome you wish to achieve, and will advocate on your behalf to help you to get what you're entitled to.
Coming to an Agreement
It may take several sessions, but the likelihood is that both parties will come to an agreement that is mutually satisfying, and the terms of the divorce can then be formalized. However, it might be that, despite your best intentions when entering the process, it's not possible for you and your soon-to-be former spouse to collaborate to the point that you can make the necessary agreements.
When it becomes evident that the collaborative approach is not yielding the desired results, it's not a case of automatically abandoning the process. It can be beneficial to utilize the services of a neutral mediator with the objective of resolving any disputes, who can help you both to overcome whatever obstacles are hindering your progress.
Withdrawing From the Process
If a neutral mediator is unable to facilitate your collaborative divorce, it might be that either party (or both parties) will acknowledge that the process has been unsuccessful, and may decide to withdraw. The termination of the collaborative process means that the matter is usually then litigated in court. This is certainly not the best outcome, but sometimes there can be no alternative. Be sure to have a comprehensive discussion with your attorney before withdrawing from the collaborative divorce process.
A collaboration can often be the calmest way to formally end your marriage, so if you think it's possible for you and your soon-to-be former spouse to achieve a satisfactory outcome, then this can be a very productive course of action.