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Understanding How Collaborative Divorce Works


The divorce process can get very complicated very quickly. You must be able to manage all of your court dates, paperwork and various processes.

Even straightforward divorces with little conflict will involve a lot of paperwork. The more conflict that exists in a divorce, the more likely it is you will need a full trial.

Most people, however, have only a moderate level of conflict to deal with during their divorce. In these situations, a collaborative divorce could be the best path.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses work outside of the courtroom setting to negotiate the terms of their divorce. Doing so can help you save time and money while benefiting from an open and honest exchange of information in a more informal setting. You are able to decide how to handle any disputes that arise after your settlement and have much more control regarding your ability to negotiate a result that works for you.

The collaborative divorce process

Here’s a quick overview of how collaborative divorce works.

  • Hire an attorney: Each party hires his or her own attorney. Your chosen lawyer should be supportive of your efforts to negotiate the divorce and be experienced in a variety of negotiation tactics and processes. Negotiation requires a much softer touch than courtroom litigation. You want an “assertive” attorney who will look out for your best interests rather than an “aggressive” attorney who will not be able to effectively negotiate in a collaborative setting.
  • Regularly meet with your attorney. In these meetings you will discuss exactly what you want to get out of the divorce, where you are willing to compromise, and the best steps to help you achieve your goals.
  • Meet with your spouse and his or her attorney: These meetings will also occur on a regular basis, and are where the real meat of the negotiations occur. In some cases, additional specialists and professionals (such as accountants or child custody officers) will attend these meetings to suggest solutions to certain issues. These third-party professionals can be valuable resources in helping you reach an agreement outside of court.
  • Make it official: Once you have an agreement, the attorneys will facilitate the signing of the Judgment and its filing with the court. Going through the collaborative process will put you and your former spouse in a better position going forward as people are more likely to abide by an agreement than they are an order imposed on them by the court.

For more information and guidance as you move through the divorce process in California, contact a skilled Fresno and San Diego divorce lawyer with The Law Office of Rebecca Medina.

Rebecca MedinaAbout the Author: Rebecca Medina

Rebecca Medina is an experienced Family Law attorney, mediator and Collaborative Divorce Lawyer serving the Fresno and San Diego areas. She handles cases ranging from complex divorce matters to child custody, spousal support, prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, QDROs and uncontested divorce cases. She was rated “Clients’ Choice” by Avvo.

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