What Is Collaborative Divorce?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Movies have been made about it; jokes have been told about it; trials have raged about it; attorneys have been well-compensated for it. What is it?

It’s divorce. But divorce does not have to be a war.

Collaborative Divorce is a new type of divorce that doesn’t involve long, arduous trials complete with mudslinging and expensive legal battles. Combining a “normal” divorce with mediation, collaborative divorce works when the parties are mature and act like adults. In a collaborative divorce, everyone works to reach agreement on the terms of the divorce. The husband and wife work together in resolving all issues – including property, debt, spousal support, child support, custody, and visitation.

While attorneys are involved, they are retained only for settlement negotiations. If there is no settlement and the divorce proceeds to trial, both attorneys are no longer allowed to work for their clients, forcing husband and wife to retain new counsel.

Collaborative divorce is an alternative to the more prolific litigation process. It allows the individuals involved in the marriage to have control; they make the decisions and determine what is best for them and their family. Not a court.

Once agreements are made, the attorneys submit an agreed entry to the court, requesting that it be made a final entry and a divorce be granted. When collaborative divorce is successful, everyone wins. Unlike in the movies, there is no War of the Roses. Rather than destruction, the parties can progress to a new beginning, leaving behind the animosity that a trial would have added, and be content in knowing that they controlled their own destiny.

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