Under the Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act, you may dissolve your marriage without the traditional divorce court procedure. Enacted in 2018, couples have since found that the law’s provisions for discussing issues on their own with their legal representatives can provide satisfying outcomes for both parties.

If you and your spouse have already discussed plans for separating or living apart, you may not require a lengthy legal process. The traditional method of dissolving a marriage usually begins by serving a spouse with papers requesting a divorce. Many couples going through a traditional divorce process have found that waiting for a soon-to-be ex-spouse’s response can be stressful.

Through the now allowable collaborative divorce procedure, you may instead create your own method for legally dissolving your marriage, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Settling matters amicably without requiring the input of a judge may provide results that are more meaningful while also remaining less stressful.

How does the collaborative approach determine support and custody issues?

Through your attorneys, you may negotiate child support, alimony or other financial arrangements without requiring the input of a family court judge. A collaborative divorce allows you and your ex-spouse to determine otherwise stressful issues on your own. You may, for example, create a visitation plan that works in each party’s favor rather than abiding by the standard custody determination process used by Pennsylvania’s divorce courts.

How is property divided?

If you do not require complicated property division arrangements, the collaborative process may offer an easy way to move forward into your new separate lives. Because Pennsylvania divides property through its equitable distribution method, a judge may otherwise divide assets by a standard he or she considers fair. With a collaborative divorce, however, you and your spouse may negotiate the terms for dividing property based on a mutually agreed idea of fairness.