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Settlement agreements are the goal in collaborative divorces

The traditional divorce that many Californians may be familiar with pits the two parties against each other in a courtroom presided over by a judge. This litigated form of divorce can be contentious, difficult and unpleasant. Additionally, it takes the control of the legal process out of the hands of the parties and places it in the hands of a judge. Although many litigated divorces do end eventually with the parties coming up with their own agreements regarding property division, custody and support, such agreement as usually reached only after both sides have prepared (at significant expense) for a full-on courtroom battle.

Collaborative process (also know as Collaborative divorce), like other consensual dispute resolution models, seeks to maintain control of the outcome by giving the parties the power, insted of a judge, to or arbitrator decide the terms of resolution. In Collaborative divorce, neitehr party can be forced into a settlement.  At the same time, both parties must be willing to compromise enough to reach an agreement if the Collaborative process is to be successful.

Collaborative divorce also permits parties to consider things that a judge may not be allowed to consider. For example, in a collaborative divorce, the parties may discuss their wants, needs and expectations for relevant divorce topics between them and their attorneys, rather than having the discussion focussed only on legal rights and entitlements.  Participants in collaborative divorce have the control to draft and execute their settlement agreements as they see best and often experience greater satisfaction with their divorce outcomes than parties who choose to litigate their divorces and give up control of the results.

Collaborative divorce is not for everyone. When divorcing spouses cannot communicate or work together, even with the help of a professional team, they may still find themselves in front of a judge or arbitrator. This is why it is importatnt to decide, at the front end, what is the best divorce process option for you and your family. 

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