In addition to being costly, time-consuming and often intensely stressful, if your divorce goes to court, it may be up to a judge to determine the final outcome. Regardless of who “wins”, neither you nor your spouse may be happy with the court’s decisions.

Collaborative divorce is different. During collaboration, you and your future ex each retain your own legal representation. However, both sides agree to work together to negotiate issues ranging from property division to parenting time and support in a series of private meetings.

1. Creating a parenting plan that really works

In addition to shielding your children from the emotional stress of the court process, collaborative divorce puts the focus on problem solving. That empowers you and your spouse to explore creative ways to work out a parenting plan that truly meets your child’s needs.

2. Making smart financial choices

From figuring out where you will live and what your income and expenses will be to emotional decisions about dividing personal property, the financial choices you make during divorce may have a profound impact on your future. The collaborative process may give you and your spouse the time and emotional space you need to crunch the numbers and make informed decisions.

3. Fostering respectful communication

While you may disagree with your ex on many issues, you may also have many years of coparenting ahead. By fostering respectful communication, collaboration may help you and your spouse to build a workable relationship that preserves your child’s strong bonds with both parents.

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you know it is time to move forward. By emphasizing communication and problem solving rather than secrecy and conflict, collaboration may help you to navigate your separation while maintaining control of your own future.