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Pennsylvania collaborative divorce a kinder, gentler dissolution

Over the years, the first call traditionally made by someone seeking to end their Pennsylvania marriage was to a litigation attorney. Once both sides were armed with lawyers prepared to fight on their behalf, they all headed off to a courtroom to do battle. This type of divorce is typically seen as costly and often depicted as a scorched earth approach to marital dissolution. Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, offers a different method of untying the knot, one that is based on the premise that the parties cooperate to find amicable solutions to the financial and other issues confronting them.

Those that choose to proceed with a collaborative divorce begin by signing an agreement. They acknowledge that neither will seek court intervention. They typically employ attorneys specially trained in the collaborative technique, along with other professionals such as therapists, appraisers and financial advisers. If the parties ultimately decide to disband the cooperative effort and head to court, the lawyers they used during collaboration cannot be part of any subsequent litigation.

The focus is on teamwork. Rather than hiring competing appraisers to instigate a battle over values, one appraiser is normally employed to provide an impartial and comprehensive valuation. When minor children are involved, therapists are often used to help smooth the emotional tug of war that sometimes accompanies child custody and child support issues. A team of financial experts can help the parties address the economic issues and fashion a fair agreement regarding property division and related divorce topics.

A Pennsylvania divorce does not have to be acrimonious. By using alternative dispute resolution techniques like a collaborative divorce or mediation, much of the sting can be removed from the process. Since the parties are in greater control of the proceedings, these options for ending a marriage are often less costly and less stressful. In the end, the parties are in a better position to move forward without being weighed down by the unnecessary financial and emotional baggage that sometimes accompanies divorce litigation.

Source: wltx.com, "Collaborative Divorce Offers Options To Court Battles," Maura Ammenheuser, March 21, 2013

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