An increasing number of couples are choosing a relatively new, alternative approach to the conflict and animosity that sometimes characterizes traditional divorce litigation. In “collaborative law” (or “collaborative divorce”), the separating couple and their attorneys agree upfront to stay out of court and to resolve their issues through consultation, communication, cooperation and negotiation. Even when personal differences cause them to part ways, many couples wish to end their relationship with dignity and grace and with a commitment to continue to work together to raise happy, healthy children. They may also wish to maintain privacy, explore solutions to unique issues, or avoid negative ordeals that they have witnessed in other divorcing couples’ lives.    
In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has an attorney to represent and advise them regarding their interests, but the group works as a team to make decisions about parenting, finances and other issues. That work may be hard, but the collaborative process offers good practice for a continued lifetime of parenting together after divorce. Collaborative law also offers the opportunity to involve other professionals as needed, such as financial professionals and child development specialists.
Clients who choose collaborative law possess more control over the divorce process and often end up feeling more positively about themselves, each other and their future relationship as parents than clients who experience traditional divorce litigation.
The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals estimates that there are more than 10,000 professionals in North America who have been trained in collaborative practice.