You may have heard of collaborative law before but wondered what it looks like in practice.

As you and your spouse go through a divorce, you may find there are a few significant structural differences between a traditional and collaborative style of divorce.

The collaborative divorce process

According to FindLaw, both parties should have an attorney. However, it is important to note that the approach to this legal process should not be hostile. Instead of focusing on only your own needs, both spouses should make sure to calmly negotiate and politely take into consideration what the other one needs.

While meeting separately with your attorney, talk to him or her about what assets are necessary and what you can compromise on. Then, have all four members talk in a group. These meetings should happen regularly until the finalization of the divorce. In addition, input from professionals on topics like financial issues and child custody can often help you during this process.

When is mediation a good idea?

In some cases, simply speaking face-to-face is not enough. A mediator is a neutral third party that can serve as a facilitator for couples that are experiencing intense conflicts while trying to divorce. Heated topics, such as child support, are often discussed more than once with these professionals. A mediator also helps make sure both parties can speak on equal terms without interruption or arguments.

Since the focus of collaborative divorce is to avoid regular conflict that typically arises in regular divorce procedures, it may help to try mediation while divorcing. Due to the informal setting of collaborative law, you can speak more freely than in usual divorce proceedings and often find solutions without hostility.