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New approaches to divorce may be cheaper and less stressful

Since the potential for stress is already very high when going through a divorce, why add to it?

A traditional approach may rely on a divorce judge to resolve issues of property division, child or spousal support, valuation disputes or other areas of disagreement. In order to make an informed decision, the judge may require each side to present evidence and respond to the other’s allegations. In other words, a divorcing couple may be forced to litigate against each other.

In contrast to the litigation model, many couples are trying alternative approaches to divorce. Collaborative divorce, recently made newsworthy by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, actually can save a couple both time and money while avoiding the stress of litigation.

At a minimum, the approach can be more relaxed. Collaborative divorce is similar to divorce mediation in that the parties and their attorneys attempt to work out all aspects of a divorce without resorting to a judge to resolve disputes. The parties can decide how they would like to approach the process, logistically and substantively. Perhaps that means fewer meetings convened for greater lengths of time. Perhaps that means an orderly presentation of viewpoints, instead of free conversation.

Notably, a couple does not have to be best friends in order to successfully utilize a collaborative divorce approach. That’s what the attorneys are best at: establishing a framework for resolving areas of contention. With an attorney present, an air of formality can still be preserved. At the same time, a spouse can take assurance in knowing that a professional is advocating for his or her best interests.

Source: New York Post, “Divorcing couples follow Gwyneth’s lead and ‘consciously uncouple’,” Kate Storey, May 27, 2014

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