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Collaborative law can lead to amicable divorce

It is no secret divorces can be messy. Months and sometimes years of built up animosity can boil over, leading to explosive arguments over everything from property division to spousal support and child custody. While these ugly divorces may seem commonplace, not all divorces are combative, nor should they be. Instead, collaborative practice may be a more peaceful, fair option for couples deciding to divorce.

Recently outside one courthouse, a newly divorce couple posed for pictures with their attorneys, hardly a sight one would expect to see after a divorce finalization. Yet, the couple decided to divorce amicably through a collaborative process and the attorneys hoped to raise awareness of the procedure, which many are unfamiliar with.

Through collaborative law, the divorcing couple and their attorneys form a team of unbiased, neutral professionals who help the couple reach a resolution that is fair for all. The team may be composed of psychologists, child specialists, accountants, and financial experts. With professionals clarifying the picture from a neutral viewpoint, the couple can make decisions regarding divorce legal issues that are fair and beneficial to each.

By following a collaborative strategy, the parting couple also avoids putting important decisions in the hands of a judge who does not know the couple. When a couple in a divorce fails to agree on child custody and child support, for example, the ultimate decision is left to a judge who knows nothing about the parties other than what is presented to him in court. In collaborative practice, on the other hand, the couple, who may have known each other for several years, can decide together what is best for their child.

Divorce does not have to be ugly. Rather, an attorney experienced with the collaborative practice can help assemble a team of professionals that can help make the process as smooth as possible so the split can be fair and the parties can feel fine about starting their new lives.

Source: The Tampa Bay Times, "Divorce with collaboration? It can happen," Sue Carlton, Sept. 20, 2013

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