By Andrea Hirsch

If you want to avoid an expensive and exhausting divorce and stay out of court, then a collaborative divorce may suit your needs. In this process, both parties receive all the support needed to achieve their stated goals of fairness and equity in all decisions affecting them and their family. The process is based on respect and consideration for each of the parties involved, and if other professionals, such as divorce coaches, financial or parenting experts are required to meet everyone’s stated goals, they are brought in. No one is ever alone during this process.

Collaborative divorce should not be confused with arbitration or mediation. This process is entirely voluntary and ground rules are set at the very beginning that apply to everyone involved, including any hired professionals. All parties must agree to reach solutions that address the needs of both individuals, agree to communicate openly and not withhold information, work towards a mutually agreeable settlement without using the courts, and agree that if they are not able to reach an effective compromise that all professionals, including lawyers, must withdraw from the case.

Divorces can get ugly and there is still the option of proceeding to court, but if the desired goal is to save time, money and reduce the stress factor, collaborating makes the most sense in a tense situation. Having lawyers on hand to keep you from making costly legal blunders while drafting documents is not only beneficial, it may save a great deal of hassle later.

Ideally, this process is designed to keep relationships civil before, during and after negotiations. If there is an issue that both parties get hung up on, there is no bar to bringing in a mediator to move the process forward. You may even decide mediation is the better route for you. Some couples may prefer arbitration. Ultimately though, the open and respectful atmosphere of the collaborative divorce process promotes a timely and peaceful resolution of issues. If both parties actively stick to the rules of the process and honestly disclose information, collaboration works. If someone chooses to withhold information or not cooperate, chances are high the parties end up in court.

The most important point to remember is that when faced with a difficult divorce, there are multiple options to choose from if the parties prefer not to litigate. Whether that may involve collaboration, mediation, arbitration or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, the choice remains in the couple’s hands.

If you are considering having a collaborative divorce, call Andrea E. Hirsch at 202-480-2160. Ms. Hirsch believes that collaborative practice is the best way to deal with the difficult issues in a divorce. She has been a leader in collaborative practice in the Washington, DC area & has extensive experience negotiating all aspects of family law cases. Visit http://www.ahirschlaw.com for more information.

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By Andrea Hirsch If you want to avoid an expensive and exhausting divorce and stay out of court, then a collaborative divorce may suit your needs. In this process, both parties receive all the support needed to achieve their stated goals of fairness and equity in all decisions affecting them...