Married couples considering divorce often feel overwhelmed. However, the route couples take plays a big part in how it goes. Collaboration is one avenue often overlooked.

Married couples considering divorce often feel overwhelmed. Time, stress, and the fear of the unknown are a few reasons why. Cost is another big reason. People often believe that a divorce is extremely expensive. In fact, recent economic data suggests that divorce rates in the U.S. directly correlate to the prosperity of individuals’ and the U.S. economy.

While it’s true that a divorce can be pricey, it typically depends on the circumstances and the route pursued. One avenue that’s more cost effective and often overlooked is collaboration.

Understanding collaboration

Collaboration, also referred to as collaborative family law, is an alternative dispute resolution process that allows couples to determine the terms of their divorce outside the traditional court system.

In collaboration, the parties meet in an informal arena and decide on settlement terms. An attorney is present as an advocate for each party as well as a neutral mediator. The parties negotiate in good faith until a mutually acceptable divorce agreement is determined.

Benefits of collaboration

Collaboration is a great alternative to litigation because it allows couples seeking a divorce to negotiate the terms of their divorce as they see fit without going to court and leaving the decisions in the hands of a family law judge who knows little about their circumstance.

Additionally, divorce via collaboration often takes much less time than litigation. According to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals-an organization that encompasses family law attorneys, mental health counselors, and financial professionals who work to improve client focused resolutions-almost 60 percent of divorces in 2010 completed through collaboration took less than 9 months to finalize.

Further, collaboration is also typically more cost effective than litigation. The IACP indicates that couples who opt to litigate their divorce often pay three or more times the cost through collaboration.

According to experts familiar with family law matters, the collaboration option also tends to be less exhausting and stressful than litigation. Many parties, they say, do not need as much time to bounce back from the strain of the process with collaboration.

The advice of a family law attorney

Although collaboration is a great alternative for divorcing couples looking to save money and fast track the process, whether the option is the best route will depend on individual circumstances.

Speaking with a family law attorney who can assess the situation and the best avenue to pursue is the first step. A lawyer can explain the process in greater detail and provide a comparison to other available forums.