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The benefits of a collaborative divorce

It might seem odd seeing the words "collaborative" and "divorce" in the same sentence, but many couples are finding that working together in a divorce offers many benefits. You may not be husband and wife any longer, but if you have children, you will always be mom and dad. There will be many times when you have to attend the same ceremony or graduation and share the children for birthdays or holidays, even after they turn 18. Learn more about mediation and how you can benefit.

What is a collaborative divorce?

In a collaborative divorce, the ideal goal is to work out all the issues of the divorce in a cooperative process. The participants, including the attorneys, come together to focus on problem-solving, not winning. Although this type of divorce does not fit everyone, there are many reasons to try:

  • You save money. Litigation is expensive, and mediation is generally much less expensive. The American Bar Association estimates the cost is about 40 to 60 percent less.
  • You have control over the outcome. If you choose to go the adversarial route and let the court decide your destiny, you may be unhappy with the decision.
  • In court, it can be difficult to address all the issues in your divorce. Through mediation, you can work through your concerns and address the whys behind what you want.
  • You learn negotiation skills, which can help you in other aspects of your life.
  • You maintain a relationship with your ex. In mediation, you work together. In litigation, you often say things you might regret, making it harder to heal once the divorce is final.
  • You have control over the timing. In a divorce that goes into litigation, you are at the mercy of the court. You cannot schedule your own dates to finalize things. In mediation, all the issues are worked out before you go before the judge. You can also arrange your mediation around your own schedules.

Do you still need an attorney?

Often, when you use a mediator, it is a local attorney, but you may still require you own attorney. The mediator does not represent either you or your spouse, just acts as a third party who can help you find solutions. It is always a good idea to have an advocate to make sure you have covered all the issues before the divorce is final.

Relationships are complex, and the law even more so. Dissolving a relationship is one of the hardest things you ever have to do, but you can come out on the other side in a good place.

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