Collaborative v. Traditional: What type of divorce is best?

Blog | 3.21.2016

Not that any type of divorce is best, but clearly not all divorces are equal. Some divorces are harder than others.  As any divorce attorney will tell you, the harder the divorce, the more expensive and the more damaging to the parties’ ability to co-parent their children going forward.


“Collaborative” divorce is much more than just working together to end a marriage. The Collaborative model acknowledges that not every divorcing couple is interested in inflicting as much damage as they can in a litigated process. Some couples choose to do the hard work of sitting down together to address the issues that each brings to the table and attempt to resolve them in a mutually-agreeable fashion.


In the Collaborative process both sides commit in writing to engage in the divorce process outside of court with the help of their attorneys, neutral experts in financial and child issues, and with a neutral facilitator to manage the process.  A series of meetings are set with both parties and their Collaborative team. Each meeting has an agreed agenda and focuses on a specific topic.  For instance, one meeting might be about parenting time. Another meeting might focus on what to do with the marital residence. Another meeting might focus on budgeting. The process is less formal, and can be less expensive, than going to court. Collaborative meetings provide a forum for discussion of each party’s needs and desires and seeks to address both.


In the formal Collaborative model, if either party decides to break the Collaborative agreement and take the case to court, both parties must fire their attorneys from the Collaborative process and hire new counsel for the litigation. The thought of having to start over with new counsel is often a deterrent for breaking from the Collaborative process as nobody wants to incur the added expense of getting new counsel up to speed. In addition, working in the Collaborative model trains couples in how to address the inevitable disputes that may arise in the future.


If you believe that you and your spouse might be good candidates for a Collaborative divorce, a Collaboratively-trained attorney will be able to discuss with you whether a Collaborative divorce is appropriate given the issues in your case.