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How does collaborative divorce work?

Divorcing couples usually face a period of negotiation that can be challenging. The final terms of the divorce can affect each spouse's life profoundly, including his or her family relationships and economic well-being. If a divorce is handled in court, the litigation period can be particularly stressful and expensive for both parties.

It is possible, however, to obtain a divorce without going to court. Through a collaborative divorce, the spouses work together with their respective attorneys to reach a settlement that both parties deem fair and acceptable. The divorcing parties have more control over the results as they, rather than a judge, establish the terms. Following is an overview of how the collaborative divorce process typically works.

Collaborative Divorce: The Process

  1. Each party hires an attorney committed to and experienced in collaborative divorce. Each spouse must have a separate lawyer who assures that the individual's interests are represented.
  2. Each party is required to sign an agreement stating that he or she will work toward a mutually agreed upon conclusion and disclose information in good faith.
  3. Generally, each party is also required to sign a "no-court" agreement signifying a commitment to a collaborative divorce without court proceedings. Note that if the process is unsuccessful and the parties end up in court, the collaborative divorce lawyers cannot continue to represent them.
  4. Each spouse meets with his or her attorney for an intensive discussion of all issues pertaining to the divorce. To prepare for negotiations, the parties may draw up a range of settlements they deem fair and acceptable.
  5. Both spouses and each attorney meet together to discuss all the terms until they reach a fair settlement agreed to by all parties.
  6. Once all the terms are agreed upon, the divorce agreement is filed in family court.

It is important to remember that collaborative divorce is effective only if both spouses feel they can work together for a mutually beneficial outcome.

While a collaborative divorce is certainly less stressful and less expensive than a court battle, many couples can reduce their stress and out-of-pocket expenses even further when they can agree to terms up front and agree as to which spouse will hire an attorney to prepare a simple, non-contested divorce. At the Zolman Law Firm, our non-contested divorce rates start at $600.

To learn more and discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney, feel free to contact the Zolman Law Firm in St. Louis for a free 30-minute consultation at 314-375-5237.

Zolman Law Firm
10805 Sunset Office Drive
Suite 312
St. Louis, MO 63127

Phone: 314-375-5237
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