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Collaborative divorce in Pennsylvania: Is it for you?

We have written on this blog in the past about alternative dispute resolution options such as divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce. These alternatives to the typical divorce process in Pennsylvania may be a good fit for those couples who are able to keep important lines of communication open. A collaborative divorce, in particular, offers couples a means of avoiding litigation and staying out of the court room.

The approach in these types of proceedings is multi-disciplinary. In addition to attorneys, mental health professionals and financial advisors are often utilized. When minor children are involved, some families opt for counselors for the kids as well. The goal is problem solving with the emphasis on all parties working together to achieve a common goal.

The court room is not part of the collaborative approach. The parties agree to refrain from filing motions or otherwise seeking a court's intervention. In those instances where the parties are simply not able to come to an agreement through this type of approach, they have the right to suspend the effort and go to court. In those instances, though, the attorneys that signed on to help the couple through a collaborative effort typically resign from their representation in favor of other professionals.

This type of divorce proceeding is not for every couple seeking a Pennsylvania divorce. However, it does offer an alternative that is generally free of acrimony and seeks the input of all parties in an effort to achieve a settlement that is fair to everyone and considers the financial and emotional impact of the family unit during the proceedings and after all the paperwork is signed. Those couples who believe they can cooperate to achieve this may find that their divorce experience is far more palatable than they had originally envisioned.

Source: inforum.com, "A civil separation: Collaborative divorce aims for balanced approach," Tracy Frank, Nov. 27, 2012

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