If your family is breaking up, you know the heartbreak and pain of the process. It is difficult enough without divorce proceedings turning into an ugly fight that you might reasonably want to avoid.

There is an alternative, and it’s called collaborative divorce. It’s available in Ohio as an option for couples who want to split up as amicably as possible. Not every family law attorney practices this method, so it’s important to have the right representation in order to make it work.

How collaborative divorce is different

Divorce, like all civil court proceedings, is based on an adversarial model. Both parties hire an attorney who battles it out for them, asserting their client’s rights as a primary focus. If you have been talking to family and friends about divorce, you have probably heard a lot of stories about how this proceeds and how painful it can become.

Collaborative divorce is based on developing a mutual agreement that satisfies both parties. It often centers on any young children and making sure that their needs are well understood and taken care of first. The agreement is developed outside of the courtroom with everyone present at the table.

It starts with a participation agreement

The first step in the collaborative divorce process is developing a participation agreement. In this, both parties agree that they will work together to develop a mutual beneficial agreement and how all future communications. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • The issues that have to be resolved for an amicable divorce
  • How communications will proceed after divorce
  • What is in the best interests of the children
  • What happens next is the process breaks down.

From there, all of the representation and resources necessary to work out the best possible agreement are brought o the table together to work everything out. This includes all financial considerations, such as child support and alimony, as well as an outline of how the children will be raised and the visitation schedules.

You make the decisions

The great advantage of collaborative divorce is that both parties sit down to make the decisions together. This gives them greater control over the final outcome. Rather than have a court decide, it’s up to both parties in the divorce to develop a plan which is then presented to the court as one package.

This is particularly desirable for couples with different lifestyle choices or non-traditional careers. Special considerations are sometimes challenging for the court, but in a collaborative divorce a solution is presented rather than asked for.

Finally, the entire process works well when both parties are focused on what matters the most to them. Collaborative divorce is based on an understanding of needs first, meaning the decisions are yours.

The right attorney for the process

Collaborative divorce is still somewhat new, and is not practiced as much as it probably should be. It can be hard to find an attorney who is trained in the process and understands the many benefits. It is critical to start by contacting an experienced collaborative divorce attorney if you are contemplating ending your marriage in Ohio and want to do it without the usual acrimony.

There are many good reasons to consider collaborative divorce, but peace of mind is the most important. If you want to have more control over the decisions made for your family and are dreading the idea of a drawn-out fight, it is probably a good option for you. It may be the right course of action for you to move forward.