There are numerous ways for you and your spouse to obtain a divorce without going to court. The method you select will be based on your interests, values, and concerns. For instance, if you are interested in your children having a good relationship with both parents after the divorce, you would be more interested in collaborative law or some form of co-mediation.
If your children are your chief concern, collaborative law is an excellent choice. Collaborative law is a process that brings parents, children and the rest of the family to a state that is a less tense than litigation or going through a divorce without a team approach. When children of divorce see their parents communicating without tension, it makes their lives easier in the present and future. Collaborative divorce is also a great choice for couples who do not have any children but are concerned with property division and creating their monthly budgets that will last for years to come. Moreover, collaborative law is much less expensive than going to court.
Collaborative divorce offers a team approach. The full team is made up of:
-2 collaboratively trained lawyers (must be licensed to practice law)
-2 divorce coaches (must be a licensed therapist and collaboratively trained)
-1 neutral financial specialist (must be licensed accountant and collaboratively trained)
In addition, there may be a child specialist, realtor, tax attorney, or other specialist.
The parties and lawyers sign an agreement which says (among other things) that the parties shall not litigate, and if someone is going to litigate then the collaborative process terminates. However, the collaborative lawyers are not permitted to represent the client in court. The parties have to retain new attorneys to represent them in court. Many litigating attorneys do not like this agreement because they are precluded from staying in the case if it falls out of the collaborative process. Collaborative lawyers like this provision because it makes the entire team buy into the process for a solid commitment from all to resolve the parties' concerns.