If you are second-guessing the choice to take your divorce to court, you are far from alone. Traditional divorce through the court system often leads to uncertain judicial outcomes, extraordinary expenses, adversarial “solutions” and entrenched animosity. 

Collaborative divorce is different. In addition to minimizing the emotional strain and costs of litigation, the collaborative process aims to help separating couples craft a plan for the future that makes both emotional and financial sense. 

However, collaboration is not for everyone. For the process to be successful, each spouse must agree to work toward solving present and future problems rather than settling past scores. 

1. Keep things civil

Staying on truly friendly terms with your spouse may be unrealistic. However, at least maintaining civility, both in person and on social media, is essential for the collaborative process. That is especially true if you have children, who may pick up and internalize even the subtlest cues about conflict. 

2. Prepare for disagreements

Even during collaborative divorce, disagreements are often inevitable. When preparing for a collaborative session, know that you are likely to hear things you do not agree with. 

Know, too, that you can determine your own decisions on your own schedule, and with the advice of counsel. Often, a little patience in hearing the other side out can go a long way toward resolving disputes more amicably. 

3. Focus on the future

The pain of present conflict can make it difficult to assess priorities. While separation is an end in one sense, there is also an entire future in front of you. Whether you have worries about finances, your relationship with your children or division of properties/businesses, a collaborative approach to divorce may help you to better assess both the emotional and financial consequences of separation.