Divorce can be a contentious process for all involved. In an effort to avoid that, some people are getting away from going to court and opting instead for a collaborative divorce. This relatively new approach was created in the United States in the 1990s and since then migrated in all directions, including north to Canada. Collaborative divorce is appealing to people for a variety of reasons. It generally takes less time than a traditional divorce. In part as a result of the timing, it also often costs less.
The basis of collaborative divorce is that it is a cooperative process that takes place out-of-court. Parties to the process commit to working together in a neutral setting to resolve the issues related to the divorce. When it goes as planned, the parties will not have to go to court at all.
The parties are not expected to do this on their own. Instead they sit down with their lawyers who help to support their clients as they work toward a resolution. These issues could include:
- Property disputes
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Child support
In the course of working through these matters, if necessary, accounting experts or counselors may be hired to come into assist with the process. These neutral third parties can help those involved move through the issues preventing the resolution.
Generally couples who commit to this approach reach a resolution. In situations where a resolution is not possible, the couple can opt for the litigation route.
Collaborative divorce is a special approach which calls for a lawyer who understands it. For couples who have questions about it, the sooner they contact a lawyer, the better.