You are currently viewing Collaborative Divorce Basics

Collaborative Divorce Basics

If you and your spouse are hoping to keep your divorce process amicable, there are various ways that you can approach the divorce process that can potentially end in a resolution that doesn’t require judicial intervention. Divorce processes that don’t require a judge to resolve a couple’s fundamental differences are known as collaborative divorces and may also be referred to in some states as uncontested divorces.

As an experienced Alameda County, CA divorce lawyer – including those who practice at Kempen & Company – can attest, the collaborative process that may work best for you and your spouse may or may not mirror the collaborative processes that some of your friends, loved ones, or colleagues have used over the years. Depending upon your unique needs, priorities, and circumstances, you may benefit from direct negotiation and attorney review, attorney-led negotiation, mediation, or some combination of these processes.

Direct Negotiation and Attorney Review

If you believe that you and your spouse can reach an agreement on how to divide your property and arrange your child custody (if applicable) without significant help from attorneys, you can start drafting an agreement and simply work with attorneys to formalize the agreement that you have drafted. Taking a DIY approach to your divorce can work up to a point. It is simply important that you have attorneys review your agreement before it is finalized, to ensure that it is fair and that it’s execution is in compliance with all of your states laws and divorce regulations.

Attorney-Led Negotiation

If you and your spouse have a strong sense of how you want to divide your property and settle your child custody situation but you are unsure about negotiating directly with one another, allowing your attorneys to direct your negotiation process can work well. This approach is often embraced by couples who want to keep their interactions with one another to a minimum for whatever reason. It also works well when couples have some disagreements that they need to work through with one another but they believe that they can do so with just a little help, as opposed to and intensive approach to assistance.


If you and your spouse need to work through some significant differences and need to negotiate some complex matters, but you are pretty confident that you can resolve your issues without judicial intervention, mediation might be a good choice. During a mediation, you will sit down with both of your attorneys and someone who acts as a neutral third party. The third party will not be present to rule on your differences of opinion, but will simply help you to stay on task and may offer suggestions as appropriate. This forum will allow you, your spouse, and both of your attorneys to negotiate with one another with the benefit of having a calm, focused, third party in the room to help diffuse tension and keep everybody on track. You can use a combination of collaborative divorce processes to reach an agreement.