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You are headed for divorce, which naturally sparks a range of emotions within you. On the one hand, you look forward to moving on with your own life. Nevertheless, you dread the idea of going to divorce trial.

The good news is that you do not necessarily have to go through traditional divorce litigation in California. Instead, you may be able to take advantage of collaborative divorce, an increasingly popular alternative dispute resolution process.  

What is collaborative divorce?

The goal of collaborative divorce is for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to resolve your divorce matters in a reasoned and constructive atmosphere. These matters may include property disputes, child custody, and child and spousal support, for example. You start out by making a written commitment to use fairness and good faith in negotiating your resolution. In addition, both you and your future ex must agree to disclose every document and piece of information relevant to your divorce issues.

Collaborative divorce process

If you choose to complete this process, you and your attorney will meet with your future ex-spouse and his or her attorney in a conference room or office and start negotiations. All parties have the freedom to take part in an open and positive discussion with the aim of achieving a mutually satisfactory resolution. The collaborative divorce process is different from mediation and arbitration in that no impartial third party is involved in the discussions. Instead, the process involves just the spouses and their attorneys.

As the process progresses, you may end up hiring experts or counselors to help you to address accounting matters or complete asset valuations as needed as you address property division. Most collaborative divorce negotiations lead to settlement agreements that resolve all of the issues being disputed.

Why should you choose collaborative divorce?

The biggest benefit of collaborative divorce is that it will help both you and your spouse to approach problem-solving in a cooperative manner. This is far less stressful than dealing with divorce matters in an acrimonious manner at trial.

Because the collaborative law process is typically more harmonious than litigation, you can expect it to be a faster and less costly method as well. An attorney can guide you through the process with the goal of helping you to achieve the most personally favorable outcome considering the circumstances surrounding your divorce.