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What is collaborative law and how does it relate to divorce?

A traditional divorce happens in a courtroom. Readers of this Virginia-based family law blog may know others or may themselves have had the experience of sitting across from their exes and working with a judge and their attorneys to resolve their divorce-related matters.

When divorces are litigated, it is often left up to the judges to make the final determinations of just how the parties’ conflicts should be worked out.

A collaborative divorce does not happen in a courtroom. In fact, collaborative divorces do not involve judges significantly. Rather, when the parties decide that they do not want to take the traditional path to divorce and would like to retain additional control over the outcome of their divorce negotiations, they may choose to resolve those matters collaboratively in a non-adversarial setting.

Collaborative law attorneys play an important role in the collaborative divorce process. Despite the fact that there is no judge, parties to collaborative divorces still must advocate for their needs and preferences when settling matters related to property division, child custody and support, and alimony. Their attorney remains a dedicated supporter of them and their needs all while helping them find common ground on which to base their end-of-marriage negotiations.

Not every couple that goes through divorce will be able to manage collaboration. In situations where there is an unequal balance of power between the parties, collaborative divorce may be ineffective. When parties wish to learn more about how collaboration may support their interests and help them avoid the conflicts of traditional litigated divorces, they can contact their trusted collaborative law attorneys for further guidance.

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