Before you file for divorce.
Education yourself about the collaborative divorce process. Go to www.iacp.com to learn more about collaborative divorce. Look for resources in your local community. Ask your doctor, therapist, or bar association about the availability of collaborative divorce in your state.
Interview attorneys trained in collaborative divorce.
When interviewing attorneys, ask them about process options. In the last decade or two divorce process options have expanded. You no longer have to use the adversarial process to resolve your divorce issues. Alternative dispute resolution options include, among others, collaborative divorce and mediation. Alternative dispute resolution means alternatives to trials and lawyer to lawyer negotiation.
Potential Advantages to Collaboration.
Collaborative divorce is private, not public. Collaborative divorce is a future focused planning process, not a court battle. Collaborative divorce keeps the decision-making for the family within the family. Collaborative divorce focuses on the needs of the children and family - it doesn't focus on fighting who is right and who is wrong.
Collaborative Divorce is a team approach.
In medical care, it is becoming common to have a multi-disciplinary team address the "problem" in the context of the whole person. Collaborative divorce is also a team approach. The benefit is that mental health professionals and neutral financial experts help the family facing divorce keep focused on problem-solving, not on blaming or fighting the same old fights.
Rememer: this is your divorce.
You don't have to have a destructive divorce process. You don't have to battle with your spouse. You don't have to put your children in the middle of conflict. Decide what kind of a divorce process you want and then find the professionals who can help.