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Collaboration is possible during a marital breakup

You have decided to get a divorce and are looking forward to finally being able to live independently in the near future. However, your biggest fear is that the divorce process will drag on, only delaying the freedom you are longing for.

Fortunately, just because you are getting divorced does not mean you and your spouse have to treat your marital breakup like a brutal battle. Instead, you can use collaborative divorce to end the marriage as quickly and amicably as possible.

What does collaborative divorce involve?

Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process that is growing in popularity among those getting divorced here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere across the country. It essentially involves taking a cooperative and structured approach to solving divorce-related issues outside of court. The goal is to achieve positive results during the finalizing of a divorce.

Collaborative divorce background and process

The process of collaborative law began in the 1990s when two attorneys decided to develop a fairer, more civil and more straightforward approach to cases involving divorce. During a collaborative divorce, both you and your spouse will commit to resolving issues such as the distribution of property, spousal support and child custody in a reasoned and constructive atmosphere. You will make this commitment in writing, where you will agree to use fairness and good faith to negotiate a resolution to your issues.

At the same time, during the collaborative divorce process, you must express your willingness to disclose every document and all information related to the divorce issues you are tackling. Both your attorney and your spouse's attorney will also agree that if either you or your spouse terminates the process to proceed with traditional divorce litigation, the attorneys will withdraw from your case. This may serve as motivation for all parties to reach a resolution that satisfies both sides.

More on collaborative divorce

Collaborative divorce is different from mediation and arbitration, two other alternative dispute resolution methods, in that no impartial third party is at the center of the process. It is just you and your attorneys. However, you might agree to hire experts or counselors to help you with asset valuation, accounting matters or other matters that crop up when discussing property division or support obligations. During collaborative divorce, you have the right to pursue the most personally favorable outcome possible considering the circumstances surrounding your marital breakup.

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