11 Reasons to Choose a Collaborative Divorce

Business woman with two clientsOne of the most difficult times in our lives is when we choose or are faced with changing some of the most basic aspects of how we live. Where we live, who we live with, what our children experience, how much financial security we have, or what kind of work we do are all potentially affected when we end a relationship.

One of the decisions partners are faced with if that time arrives is what model of divorce to choose. You can do it yourself, otherwise known as a kitchen table divorce, go to a mediator, hire a court-based attorney, or you can decide to have a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, you will each have your own attorney and divorce coach to help guide you through the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of divorcing.

Here are 11 reasons you may want to consider this divorce option:

  • The basis of a collaborative divorce is that you are working with professionals to maintain a dignified, self-respecting divorce that does not denigrate the relationship you have had with your spouse and works to keep the relationship intact as coparents.
  • You are not in the position of being told what will happen. Both of you are responsible for making the decisions that will determine how your postdivorce family will function. In court, you often have a “winner” and a “loser.” In a collaborative divorce, the intent is that you two make decisions together, with help, during a time that is often very emotional.
  • Collaborative attorneys and divorce coaches work with you to inspire mutual empathy, clarity of thought, and emotional stability in an effort to keep you both empowered and supportive of your mutual financial arrangements and coparenting relationship.
  • A child specialist will talk with your children, explain some of the aspects of divorce, help them to think and talk about their experience of their parents ending their romantic relationship, and make a presentation to you about what they have learned that will be helpful in formulating your parenting plan.
  • A financial specialist will work with both of you to determine your financial picture and what choices will be most effective for both of you and your children.
  • You will be in a better position to comfortably attend your children’s events together such as sporting events, concerts, graduations, marriages, births, etc. You may find that your friends have an easier time maintaining friendships with both of you because you are not in a conflict where may feel they have to choose sides.
  • In a collaborative divorce, you are given strong incentives to work through the process. Your team of professionals will not follow you to court should either one of you become frustrated and leave this process. Instead, the team can stay with you to help smooth over some of the rough spots that occur when a family is in this type of transition.
  • Collaborative divorce affords you more privacy than you would have going to court. You do not need to file arguments explaining why you believe the parenting time or financial arrangements should occur in a certain way.
  • When needed, additional experts can be brought in to aid in the process. For example, you might need a business valuator, a vocational counselor, or a tax expert. Having training in the collaborative process is useful in maintaining cooperation as you work toward your goals.
  • Rather than decisions made on the courtroom steps or “horse trading,” the goal is to come up with creative, long-lasting solutions developed from various scenarios until the one that is right for your family is found.
  • We know that divorcing isn’t easy. We also know it can be easier when there is cooperation and mutual goal setting. You are encouraged to focus on where you are going rather than where you have been. You will receive help to develop better communication skills as you make the necessary decisions facing your family while we provide legal and financial information as well as emotional guidance to both of you.

These are just some of the reasons to consider a collaborative divorce. You can find more information and online access to collaborative practitioners at collaborativepractice.com.

Related articles:
I’m Getting a Divorce… Now What Do I Do? The First Steps
How to Help Children Cope with a Divorce
Reclaiming Your Life Through Forgiveness

© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Shendl Tuchman, PsyD, therapist in San Ramon, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Noreen


    March 5th, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    While this type of divorce sounds like a good idea in teory, how many couples going through a divorce do you know who are going to have the ability to be so rational?

    I know that we all want to be adults, but when you are sitting across the table from someone who may have hurt you so deeply it is going to be a hard thing to be cal and wok in a collaborative manner.

    I would like to say that I would be able to do this and to be a little more grown up, but I am thinking that my base emotions would probably just get the best of me and I might not be able to do it.

  • Tatum H

    Tatum H

    March 5th, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Like therapy, but even better!
    You are losing that baggage that is dragging you down, yet focusing on ways to better yourself too.
    I like it!
    Now are there a lot of attroneys who are going to go for this?
    If everyone is being calm and behaving then this could seriously cut into their fees ;)



    March 5th, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Its always better to save yourself and your soon-to-be-ex partner from all the turmoil that a divorce can bring.

    Divorce is not easy for anybody and you’re not the only one suffering from it, your partner is too. SO to be respectful and going about things in a nice way is always a good thing.

  • Gregg


    March 6th, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    I wonder who gets to choose the family specialist to work with the children? Because we have all seen cases where even that could be a point of contention. It has to be someone who is willing to have the best interests of the children at heart and have no connection to the spouses at all. Maybe the lawyers work together to find someone or there are certain ones who are court appointed. I think that this will be a great divorce model for anyone to follow who might find themselves in this situation, and I hope that it does catch on and become alittle more mainstream.

  • kathey


    March 6th, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Divorce is going to be a tough step no matter which path you follow. Maybe you would feel better duking it out in court, but I think that when it all boils down to it most of us are going to fell best getting out of the marriage with our lives and our dignity and our self esteem intact. There are a lot of people that this does not happen for, but after reading this I think that it is pretty clear that a collaborative divorce could be the saving answer. It is not going to make everything perfect but it might at least make everything little easier on you and the whole family. It doesn’t inflict the damage that other types of divorces can, especially those that get so nasty. It would be great if this would catch on and become something that couples seek out instead of have put on them. I think that the whole process will be so much smoother and meaningful when it can be like that.

  • cosmos25


    March 7th, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Reason 12: It will save your sanity!

  • Shendl Tuchman

    Shendl Tuchman

    March 27th, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Thank you all for your thoughts and good questions. Many people are concerned about whether they will be able to manage their emotions and talk civilly to the person with whom they are divorcing. However, this would be true whether you were using the Collaborative Divorce model or a litigation model. The question becomes whether you want the help the Collaborative Divorce team can offer you, both of you, to keep your children first and foremost in your decision-making thoughts. It is the responsibility of your divorce coach to help you deal with the difficult feelings you are experiencing. This is not readily available in the litigation model. Many attorneys around the world are providing Collaborative Divorce services. The model was originally designed by a divorce attorney who believed there was a better way to help people through this very difficult process than by fanning the flames that are already there. The Child Specialist is a neutral person who is part of the Collaborative Divorce team. The attorneys and coaches suggest a Child Specialist from their local Collaborative Divorce practice group who they believe would work well with the parents. In a Collaborative Divorce, no one is court appointed. The goal is to avoid going to court all together. Collaborative Divorce is a great model for the future and has also been available for over 25 years. More than likely, there is a Collaborative Divorce practice group near you.

    Thank you again,
    Dr. Shendl Tuchman

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