Avoiding a protracted and contentious court battle is the goal of many couples heading for divorce. Rather than having a winner and a loser, the couples work to resolve and negotiate to arrive at the best possible outcome for all involved. Understandably, this is not an easy task, and sometimes the couple cannot achieve this on their own. This is why more Pennsylvania couples are exploring the option of collaborative divorce.

It is important for spouses to enter collaboration with an idea of what they hope to achieve, the points on which they are willing to bend and the items that are nonnegotiable. Collaboration begins when both spouses meet, along with their respective attorneys, and begin to negotiate. This often takes more than one meeting.

At some point in the collaboration, the couple may include other professionals to help them make prudent choices. This could include child advocates, financial experts and/or a divorce counselor. They may even need a mediator if they cannot reach agreement on a certain issue. Resolving each issue is critical since collaboration agreements require the couple to start over with new attorneys if they abandon collaboration for litigation. This can be difficult if the couple has already revealed much during the negotiations, and there is a cost factor as well.

Collaborative law is only successful if both spouses are willing to negotiate and compromise. Otherwise, they may end up even more frustrated as they head to court after all. However, those in Pennsylvania who feel they can benefit from collaborative divorce would do well to seek out individual attorneys who have experience in this form of alternative dispute resolution.