The first word that immediately springs to mind when you mention divorce is probably not collaboration or cooperation. Yet the concept of collaborative divorce is one with some attractive features and advantages, usually for both parties. There are lawyers here in Arizona well trained in it, and ready to guide clients through it.
The process was developed in 1990 by a divorce attorney. The concept is actually simple and straightforward. Rather than battle each and every little issue out in court as though it was a take no prisoners war, the husband and wife both agree that it is apparent that the marriage is over and that they need to sit down privately, each with their own lawyer, to honestly and respectfully work out a solution to the things that need to be resolved, such as division of property, child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support.
By doing this privately, rather than in court where most things are public, they can better preserve the family’s privacy and avoid details of the family finances and other issues and disputes being made part of the public record. It requires that they honestly disclose to each other their debts and assets. If there are assets like a family business that needs to be appraised for purposes of setting a value for property division, they can jointly agree on and hire an appraiser to fairly assess the question, rather than each hiring experts and then battling in court.
Doing things this way saves time and aggravation as well as money. It also often results in many issues on which the parties really are not that far apart being resolved and agreed to quickly, narrowing the issues on which there is any need for adversarial courtroom litigation. Such a process can also be beneficial for the children, as it is the kind of forum where the continuing needs of the entire family can be taken into account.
Source: The Courier-Journal, “Collaborative divorces keep separation details secret” Andrew Wolfson, Dec. 15, 2013