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Considering the benefits of successful collaborative divorce

Divorce is never easy, and it can be an extremely lengthy, combative and expensive process if couples cannot agree on major points.

On the other hand, even couples who may not be in tune on everything but are willing to work together in the spirit of compromise have much to gain in a collaborative divorce.

Maintaining civility

Supervising Judge John Smiley of the Superior Court of California has recommended collaboration over traditional divorce, noting that "If couples have a warfare mentality, they can never really recover." Judges and attorneys throughout the country agree. Collaborative divorce begins when parties meet with their attorneys to discuss every aspect of their divorce, from the division of assets to workable schedules for parenting time. The meetings take place outside of court, and there is a civilized and respectful atmosphere. It is not uncommon to add other professionals to the legal team, such as a financial advisor or an accountant.

Lowering expenses

No matter their level of income, couples who enter into collaborative divorce find that this method of ending a marriage is considerably less expensive than litigation. Jennifer Tull of the Collaborative Law Institute of Austin, Texas, explains that collaboration costs about half as much as going to court, saying, "A big savings is that couples share financial information."

Setting the pace

Collaborative divorce is also a faster road to divorce. Litigation can take years, but a collaborative divorce takes an average of about 18 weeks.

Tailoring the outcome

This option also provides for a custom solution to certain issues that the court, for one reason or another, may not grant. In her collaborative divorce, Carolyn Caswell, the Minneapolis mother of a young son, asked for and received temporary spousal support, assistance she requested because she had been out of the workforce for years and needed time to find a job.

Seeking help

If you and your soon-to-be-ex believe that you can work together toward a satisfactory divorce settlement, explore collaborative divorce as an alternative to litigation. There are several benefits when compared with a lengthy, often bitter court procedure, and you will have experienced legal guidance along with the support of any additional professionals you require.

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