Most people think of divorce as a contentious, divisive process that’s characterized by large courtroom battles and litigation. While divorce can look like this, it doesn’t have to. Indeed, there is an alternative to the contentious divorce: collaborative divorce. Here’s what you should know about collaborative divorce and when it may be a good option in Massachusetts—

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

The goal of a collaborative divorce is to resolve all issues in a divorce case without the threat of trial. As such, upon entering a collaborative divorce, all parties agree that they will not litigate the case; if litigation is necessary, the lawyers representing the parties during the collaborative divorce will resign, and the parties will have to find new lawyers. Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation, except that both parties’ lawyers are involved rather than a neutral mediator. Both parties agree to engage with each other in a respectful manner throughout the process, and sign a participation agreement that states this. 

What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?

There are many advantages to collaborative divorce. Perhaps the biggest is that by avoiding litigation, the divorce may be settled more quickly and less expensively. In addition, other benefits of collaborative divorce include:

  • Win-win settlement. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse sign a participation agreement where you agree to work together to settle the divorce. This means that both of you will usually end up getting a significant portion of what you want without the interference of a judge.
  • Shared costs. Parties agree to share the costs of outside experts and professionals who may consult on issues, such as child custody, financial matters, etc. This can reduce the financial burden placed on one party and ensure a neutral professional opinion is provided. 
  • Protection for children. If you have children, a collaborative divorce can be a great way to protect children from divorce proceedings and the usual conflict divorce involves. 
  • Confidentiality. The proceedings of a collaborative divorce are private.
  • Mutual respect. Working together to reach a divorce settlement can feel good. Respecting your spouse throughout the process is a great way to avoid hurt feelings, negative emotions, and long-term feelings of resentment. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Collaborative Divorce?

If you and your spouse are able to communicate amicably and respectfully, then you may be a good candidate for a collaborative divorce. If you believe that either you or your spouse will be unable to compromise and collaborate to reach a settlement, collaborative divorce may not be for you. 
Call Our Massachusetts Family Law Attorney Today 

If you are pursuing a divorce in Massachusetts and are considering collaborative divorce, we recommend speaking to an attorney before getting started. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our experienced family law and divorce attorney can answer your questions and guide you through your legal options. Reach out to our lawyer today at (617) 903-8955 or online to get started.