As attorneys working in a potentially stressful area of law we do what we can to make the process easier for the spouses and the children. In many instances this can be done by empowering each party to the divorce so that they can better direct how the process should work itself out.
Collaborative divorce is just one of the means in avoiding having one's grievances aired in court. There will be professionals there available to help individuals out. However, the end result of this process is often dependent upon the willingness of the two spouses to work together to come up with the best possible solution - whether it concern issues of child support, spousal support, child custody, visitation, property or asset division, etc.
One attorney described the collaborative process as opposed to litigation as the "peaceful resolution." It differs from mediation in that in collaborative divorce both parties will have attorneys present. All of the parties and their attorneys then sit together at the table to go over various options and possible solutions to the various issues.
The process is completed in more than half of situations in less than nine months. The financial costs are also on average reportedly only to be about one-third of what a matter would cost if litigated. Couples do have to be realistic in their expectations, however. Without transparency between the two parties, the legal fees could significantly rise.
Whether it is litigation, collaborative divorce or mediation, it is often up to the parties to determine whether it can be conducted successfully. There are also in California a number of issues that do require mediation before a judge will sign the divorce papers (such as child custody). It's good to have options, however, to make certain that the needs of the parties are met.
Source: CNBC, "Collaborative divorce can ease emotional, economic stress," Deborah Nason, May 2, 2014