In the Collaborative Divorce process, you and your spouse both have attorneys, but you all agree not to go to court but instead to work toward a settlement in a series of four-way meetings.
While similar to the Cooperative approach, it differs in that if it does not yield an agreement, the attorneys (and any third party specialists) must withdraw. They will not litigate. The purpose of the collaborative commitment is to incentivize all participants in reaching a settlement out of court.
An Interdisciplinary Team approach may be used during the Collaborative Process. Knowledgeable professionals such as therapists, financial analysts, or child specialists are brought into the process to provide support and facilitate effective negotiations.
In the Collaborative process, the expense of experts is shared. Legal fees for Collaborative law cases are often significantly less than for litigated cases (when the parties have to argue in court). However, the emotional and relational benefits go far beyond any financial savings, since a major focus in the collaborative process is to create more respectful and effective ongoing relationships within the restructured family.
The Collaborative Divorce is especially appropriate when one or both spouses feel at a disadvantage in negotiating an agreement or when one or both spouses would like to have attorney/psychologist/financial advice and negotiation help throughout the process. It is well-suited for high conflict divorces. The Collaborative Process provides the support for getting to a satisfactory, long-lasting resolution.