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Many turning to collaborative law to avoid ugly divorce

Believe it or not, marriage dissolution does not have to involve grueling litigation where the parties scratch and claw for whatever they can get out of the divorce. Instead, a divorcing couple can seek to amicably end the marriage so they can each go their separate ways on peaceful terms and with the feeling that a fair resolution was reached. One of the best ways to achieve this type of departure and to avoid unruly arguments is to use a collaborative practice.

When collaborative law is used in a divorce, the parties sit down together with their attorneys and other professionals who may include accountants, divorce coaches, child specialists, and mental health professionals. With this support system in place the parties can be upfront, exchange information and work together to reach a peaceful resolution. Agreements through a collaborative process can cover any aspects of a divorce including property division, spousal support, child custody, visitation rights, and child custody.

Through a collaborative process the couple maintains control over the dissolution of their marriage. If a couple took their divorce to court, arguments would be presented over various divorce legal issues and the judge would make the final decisions on those issues. If the couple can trust each other and can have a civil conversation, they may be able to reach a more favorable resolution by ensuring each party feels they were heard and treated fairly. Additionally, many collaborative divorces lead to a better relationship between the individuals post-divorce.

It is also important to note that collaborative law and divorce mediation is not the same. While collaboration allows the parting couple to craft and develop an agreement amongst them, divorce mediation involves a neutral third-party who helps the couple make difficult decisions. If divorce is on the horizon but the parties want to avoid the acrimonious process of a litigated divorce, a collaborative law professional should be contacted to discuss the process.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Collaborative divorce avoids going to court to settle differences," Kim Lyons, Oct. 7, 2013

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