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What is collaborative law and how does it work in divorce?

Traditional divorce in the legal system is often a confrontational process that drains the parties of their energy and taxes their emotions as they struggle to make decisions about the end of their marriages. This difficult and sometimes overwhelming process is only one of the paths that a Californian may find themselves on if they should choose to pursue divorce. In California, divorce participants may elect to end their marriages through collaboration rather than confrontation.

Collaborative Process (also known as Collaborative divorce), is an alternative process which allows divorce parties to work together to make conscientious and reasonable decisions about important divorce-related issues. For example, through a collaborative divorce, two individuals may come to agreeable terms regarding the custody and support of their kids, the manner in which they would like to divide their property, and whether either of them will be responsible to the other for spousal support once the marriage has ended. Participants in the Collaborative Process are represented by specially trained attorneys, even though the goal of the process is to complete the divorce without having to go to court.

Individuals and their families can benefit from reducing confrontation during their divorces and working together to find agreeable post-divorce terms. By making the process a positive negotiation rather than an aggressive litigated battle, the parties can feel more satisfaction in their divorce resolutions than when courts order particular outcomes in their cases.

Collaborative divorce is not for all families. Those readers who want to learn more about how collaborative law can support families in transition are encouraged to talk to family law attorneys who have received training in Collaborative Process and practice collaborative divorce. Not all lawyers include collaborative divorce in their practices and readers are encouraged to research their legal representatives' practice areas to find a good fit. Information and trained professionals can be found at Collaborative Practice California

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