Melissa J. Avery answers:
Collaborative divorce is a process where both parties commit to working with a jointly chosen team of professionals to settle their case out of court. Common members of the team working with the couple include lawyers, a mental health professional serving as a divorce coach and a financial planner. Appraisers and custody evaluators can be added to the team when appropriate. Everyone on the team, including the parties, agree that the goal is to achieve the best overall post divorce situation for everyone involved.
The cornerstone of collaborative divorce is the requirement that should the process fail, the parties must engage new professionals to lead them through the traditional litigation process. This requirement not only increases motivation to move forward collaboratively, but ensures that everyone starts and stays invested in the process. Collaborative divorce is an exciting option for couples and can reduce cost and conflict as their marital relationship is dissolved.