In collaborative divorce, you and your spouse each retain your own trained collaborative attorney to advise you on the law and advocate on your behalf. All negotiations take place in a series of four-way meetings where both spouses and lawyers attend. Both the parties and the lawyers commit that they will not go to court to resolve the dispute. If either party later decides to go to court, then both attorneys resign from the case, and the parties find new attorneys to represent them in court.
In traditional litigation, the process is controlled by court deadlines, the attorneys often speak on behalf of their clients and lawyers fight to win. In collaborative law, you and your spouse control the process and the timeframe. The lawyers work with you and your spouse to arrive at a mutually created settlement. The collaborative process may include jointly retained experts (such as financial experts, child specialists or mental health coaches) to help guide you and your spouse to the best resolutions for your particular circumstances. To the contrary, in litigation, you and your spouse hire separate experts to support your opinions, often at great cost.