The Collaborative Divorce Process

A step-by-step guide for you and your spouse

A Collaborative divorce is available to you right now. A Collaborative divorce is a friendlier, kinder, gentler divorce that will keep you away from contentious, expensive courtroom drama.

The purpose of a Collaborative divorce is to change both of your mindsets from “win-lose” to “win-win” and to “work together, problem solve, and negotiate” rather than battle with your spouse in each step of the court process. The Collaborative divorce approach not only significantly reduces the pain and heartache of this difficult process; it can also reduce the amount of money you are forced to spend on your divorce.

No one should have to face the dreaded and uncertain outcome of a case that has to be decided by a judge.

Our legal, mental health, and financial professionals are available to set up online meetings with you. And it’s always confidential.

Don’t know how to start the process? Follow these steps to choose your professionals to talk to so you can begin immediately your divorce process.


Here’s how it works

There are two ways that you can get started with a Collaborative divorce:

Meet With a Collaboratively-trained Family Relations Specialist

You can meet with a Collaboratively-Trained Family Relations Specialist, who can meet together with you and your spouse, so you both can hear the same information about the Collaborative process at the same time.

Search here to find a Collaboratively-trained Family Relations Specialist.

Meet With a Collaboratively-trained Attorney

If you are ready to move forward with a divorce, you should meet with a Collaboratively-trained attorney, and your spouse should meet with a separate Collaboratively-trained attorney so you are each represented by attorneys who know the process and can help you through this difficult time.

Search here to find a Collaboratively-trained attorney.

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Once both you and your spouse have retained Collaboratively-trained attorneys, the first Collaborative Meeting will be scheduled at a convenient time for everyone.

At that first meeting, you will sign a “Collaborative Law Participation Agreement.” This Agreement will confirm that you agree you are not going to court, and your divorce can proceed at a pace that’s more comfortable for you both.

You and your spouse commit to communicating fully, frankly and respectfully; to participate with integrity; and to negotiate in good faith. We will discuss all aspects of the process and your rights and obligations during the negotiations.

If there are any urgent family issues that require immediate intervention, they will be dealt with at this first meeting. Less urgently, we will work with you to discuss and decide the necessary members of your team so that your whole family’s needs are addressed.

After these “set up arrangements” are made, we will work with you to resolve the issues in your divorce.


You, your spouse, and your team will get together for settlement conferences, instead of court appearances; and your case will be customized for your unique circumstances. Lots of communication will happen via phone calls and emails, as opposed to the exchange of formal letters that are often confrontational and oppositional in the litigation process. This type of informal communication can save you money. The time this step takes will depend greatly upon you, your spouse, and your particular situation.


Once the negotiations are complete and everyone accepts all the terms, a Marital Settlement Agreement is drafted. Once this Agreement is signed by both parties and their attorneys, a Complaint for Divorce for a settled case is filed with the court. In New Jersey, the court requires this Complaint. The attorneys will file all required paperwork with the court, and you can be divorced.