7 questions to consider before choosing collaborative divorce

We have all heard horror stories about bitter and contentious divorces. We have read about divorces dragging on for years, spouses making nasty allegations against each other in public, parents using children as bargaining chips and people who try to hide assets to limit their financial obligations to an ex.

Yes, unfortunately these types of divorces happen; but they don't have to. Californians may be able to avoid the worst kinds of divorce by opting for a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, soon-to-be ex-spouses each have an attorney but the focus is on keeping the case out of a courtroom and working together to develop an agreeable settlement. If this sounds like something you'd like to pursue, you should ask yourself -- and potentially your spouse -- some important questions.

  1. Which is more important: being right or being fair?
  2. Are there children involved who will be affected by the divorce process and resulting settlement?
  3. Do you have complicated or significant assets that need to be addressed?
  4. Can you and your spouse still communicate in a civil manner?
  5. What emotions or expectations are primarily driving the decision to divorce?
  6. Have there ever been issues with domestic violence or abuse in your relationship?
  7. Are you willing to cooperate and compromise?

These are just some examples of the questions that should be asked and addressed honestly when considering a collaborative divorce. If you find that you are so angry you can't imagine being in the same room with your spouse, collaboration may not be feasible. However, if you find that you and your spouse are both dedicated resolving your legal issues in a peaceful manner for the sake of your children, a collaborative divorce may certainly be possible.

Before you make any firm or drastic decisions, we encourage you to discuss your situation and your goals with an attorney at our firm. We have experience helping people in all types of divorces and we can help you find an appropriate solution. For information on how we can help you approach this difficult process, whether it is through mediation, collaboration or litigation, please visit our website.

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    Attorneys Paul Gavin and Wayne Dersch are certified as a family law specialists. Learn More