Many of you may remember this comedy from the late 80’s, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.  It is an all-too-familiar story of young lovebirds who ultimately find themselves facing divorce after years of marriage, kids and career.  While the story line may be a little over the top, which makes it so funny in the first place, the premise of the story may be very recognizable to folks going through their own bitter divorce.  Of course at the end of the movie, as is often true in reality, there are no winners and much of the life the two of them built together has been destroyed in the divorce process. 

Fast forward 20 years and there has been a slight paradigm shift, at least for some folks, in the way that divorce is handled.  Many attorneys, now trained in the area of collaborative divorce, choose to give their divorce clients an opportunity to achieve their legitimate post-divorce goals without trying to sabotage the other spouse in the process.  Both spouses must be committed to the collaborative process in order to make it successful.  Many couples may choose this process because they believe it is best for the welfare of the children and will make it easier to co-parent them in the future.  However, there are many other advantages to a collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce offers the opportunity for resolving the legal issues in a dignified and respectful manner.  It can eliminate the fear some couples may have, a fear that their divorce will be lengthy, costly and end up fostering more bitterness between the two of them, not to mention the harm it will do to their children.  It highlights the goals of each spouse and the best interests of the children.  Collaborative divorce attorneys will act as guardians of the divorce process, giving their clients the opportunity to decide their long-term goals and the issues that are important to them, even if their choices would not likely be in line with a litigated outcome. 

Some collaborative divorces utilize a full-team model which includes divorce coaches for each spouse, a child specialist if there are children, and a neutral financial person to help resolve the financial issues of divorce.  Whether you are interested in learning more about collaborative divorce or you would like to consult with a professional in a specific practice area, there are many collaborative practice groups established throughout the country.  You can visit http://www.collaborativepractice.com/ to find a practice group near you, or professionals located near you.  If you are in the Triangle area, you can also visit http://www.ncacdp.com/about.html