Having decided to end your marriage, you want to put the heartache and stress behind you quickly, but that is not likely to happen in the courtroom.

However, you may consider collaborative divorce, a respectful, economical alternative to litigation where you have greater control over the outcome.

Litigation issues

To begin with, litigation is a public proceeding. By its very nature, it is an adversarial process that leaves many people feeling bitter toward each other. Depending on the amount and variety of assets you have, a divorce in court can continue for months. The longer the process goes on, the more expensive it will be. The court will also make decisions for you, your soon-to-be-ex and your family that will affect your lives going forward, and you will probably not agree with some of those decisions.

Collaborative solutions

In a collaborative divorce, parties exchange information voluntarily and agree on using legal procedures that keep the cost of divorce under control. Keep in mind that it is still less expensive than litigation, even if you bring in outside professionals like appraisers, financial consultants or child custody experts. You and your spouse will also create a process for making post-divorce decisions. This is where the respectful communication methods you come to use in the process will serve you well after the divorce is final, especially if you are still raising your children.

Plan of action

The first thing to do is discuss the concept of collaborative divorce with your soon-to-be-ex. You may have differences to sort out, but you must both commit to creating a satisfactory divorce agreement through communication and compromise. With assistance from a team of professionals led by your respective attorneys, you can control the outcome of your divorce with less anxiety, stress and expense than you would have with litigation. And, you will be in a better place to begin the next phase of your life.