In 1990, the idea of a collaborative divorce was introduced by an attorney who was tired of the contentiousness that is normally associated with many divorces. Since that time, collaborative divorce has caught on across Maryland and the United States, giving divorcing couples an alternative to the litigation or mediation route. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 lawyers who are trained in collaborative law across the globe, an indication that this method continues to rise in popularity.

The basic idea behind a collaborative divorce is to avoid the court system. In this type of proceeding, attorneys for both sides sign an agreement stating that they will work together to resolve the case. The agreement states further that if the case requires judicial intervention, the attorneys will withdraw.

Voluntary disclosure of vital information is mandatory in these cases, as this disclosure can assist in the settlement of the case. Both sides can also look for help from outside professionals, including therapists and financial planners. According to people familiar with the process, a collaborative divorce allows each party a chance to heal instead of having to endure the divisiveness associated with litigation.

A collaborative divorce is not for every Maryland couple. However, this process does give the parties an alternative choice that in many cases may be effective. In order for an individual to determine whether this alternative is right for them, the right advice may help in deciding if it fits their personal needs. Of course, there are circumstances where it is less likely to work, and for those people a more traditional approach may be more appropriate.

Source: Scripps Howard News Service, “Collaborative divorces avoid court, require cooperation,” Stephanie Hoops, July 23, 2012