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What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Posted On January 17, 2022 In Divorce

Divorces are often less draining on your emotional and financial well-being and less time-consuming when you can work with your spouse towards a resolution. When spouses resolve their problems in a divorce, they choose their solutions. These solutions are generally more suitable to the spouses’ lifestyles and circumstances than any rulings the court could impose on their behalves.

The family courts prefer spouses reach their compromises in a divorce as well. This saves court time and resources for other matters. Divorce trials overload court dockets and must wait months before being heard.

There are different methods of alternative dispute resolution spouses may use to resolve their divorce issues in whole or in part. Mediation is one of the most popular and well-known of these processes. Another is collaborative divorce.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce uses both mediation and negotiation to reach compromises on the major issues in a divorce. The process requires full cooperation and commitment from both spouses to be successful.

Steps in a Collaborative Divorce

First, each spouse hires their own attorney to represent their interests. It is imperative to retain an attorney experienced in collaborative divorce as the process is different from traditional litigation.

Next, the spouses meet with their attorneys privately to create a divorce plan. This plan should include all of the following:

  • Preferred division of assets and debts;
  • Any custody and visitation schedule for children;
  • A child support calculation;
  • A proposed alimony arrangement, if any; and
  • How and if there will be a division of retirement accounts.

The spouses will then choose a divorce team with their attorneys. This is a group of specialists who help find options and reach solutions to any pending disagreements. Typical collaborative divorce teams include a divorce coach, financial specialist, and child specialist.

The No Court Agreement

After a team is assembled, there will be an initial meeting between the spouses and their attorneys. At this meeting, the parties will sign a contract agreeing that neither spouse will leave the collaborative divorce process to pursue litigation. If either spouse does so, both attorneys may withdraw from the divorce case.

Once an attorney withdraws from the collaborative divorce process, it must begin anew with a different set of attorneys and a new team of professionals. This will cost the spouses added time and money.


Negotiations are conducted at the subsequent meetings. The attorneys, spouses, and the team will meet to agree on each divorce issue. Doing so requires each spouse to exchange all information regarding assets and debts voluntarily.

If a spouse cannot be trusted to provide such information voluntarily, collaborative divorce is probably not a viable option for that particular divorce.

Settlement Agreement

After all divorce terms are resolved, a settlement agreement is drafted by one of the attorneys. Both parties must review and sign the document. The court will review the document for fairness and sign if it is satisfactory.

The settlement agreement becomes the final divorce decree once the court signs it.

Who Qualifies for a Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is appropriate for spouses who are willing to work together and have a history of communicating and problem-solving. Cases involving domestic violence or hostility are not good candidates for a collaborative divorce.

It is essential to remember that neither party to a collaborative divorce will likely get everything they want. Instead, spouses must compromise on contentious issues. However, by choosing a collaborative divorce, spouses retain the power to make their own decisions regarding what is best for themselves and their families.

Contact an Experienced Collaborative Divorce Attorney in Arizona

If you want to learn more about a collaborative divorce in Arizona, speak with an experienced Chandler divorce attorney at Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC. We are skilled in collaborative divorce and other alternative methods of divorce resolution.

Contact Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, online or by phone to schedule your consultation. We will listen to you and provide you with practical advice about the best divorce method for your unique needs.