When it comes to divorce in New York and around the country, the typical image people have is of lawyers fighting for their clients in ways that can quickly become nasty. Not everyone wants to argue and try to get the most money and custody, however. Some people are interested in a more amicable process. Those couples may be interested in a process known as collaborative divorce.

Starting the collaborative divorce process

If a married couple decides that they want to pursue a collaborative divorce, they need to look for attorneys who’ve been trained in a specific way. Collaborative attorneys help their clients negotiate an agreement that meets with approval from both parties. To start this process, each spouse needs to find a lawyer of their own. Each attorney agrees to remove themselves from the case if an agreement can’t be reached.

When the collaborative divorce process works, the couple arrives at an agreement, and the judge signs off on it. When it doesn’t work, the collaborative lawyers exit the process. The divorcing couple needs to retain traditionally trained family law attorneys and proceed from there. This is the biggest downside to the process. Hiring a new attorney is an additional expense no one wants to incur, which is why collaborative divorce is best reserved for truly amicable situations.

Collaborative divorce vs. mediation

Collaborative divorce is sometimes compared to mediation. However, it’s different because in mediation, there’s one third party who negotiates with both spouses. In collaborative divorce, everyone has their own lawyer to help advocate for them. Because of that, it has more in common with a traditional divorce.

If an individual has more questions about the divorce process, a family law attorney may offer guidance. An attorney may be able to help with negotiating child custody, property division and other aspects of ending a marriage.