A collaborative divorce is like mediation, except it is not court-mandated and there is no neutral intermediary, just the two parties and their lawyers. Both parties, along with their lawyers, must meet to discuss the settlement; this ensures that both parties are fully informed about the legal consequences of all their options, so that they reach the best resolution possible. Both parties must agree to interact respectfully and cordially, and must disclose all information about material matters (everything said or disclosed in meetings is confidential). The parties also must share the cost of any expert services deemed necessary (ex: real estate agents, child care services). If collaborative process fails and the divorce must go through litigation, the original lawyers must withdraw from the case.
Collaborative divorce is less expensive than litigation and often faster. Additionally, it can reduce the stress of the divorce, which is particularly desirable when children are involved. While there are many positives to collaborative divorce law, it's not right for everyone. You should only consider it if you you can agree to work with (and not against) your spouse in the divorce process. A lawyer might not agree to a collaborative divorce proceeding if the divorce is not amicable (for example, involving abuse or adultery).
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This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.