While divorce can frequently and understandably lead to emotional tension, bitterness and harsh feelings between a couple, experts say that collaborative divorce is becoming increasingly more common.

One divorce consultant and attorney explained that many divorcing couples now see the advantage in working together on their divorce, particularly when it comes to the welfare of their children. The consultant explained, "I've watched so many disasters, and I can honestly call my former spouse a co-parent and friend today. But this has to be a priority for each parent in order for it to work."

A long divorce trial in Virginia can cost parties huge sums, especially when spouses disagree regarding the distribution of assets or fight each other over custody of their children. However, a collaborative divorce is frequently much more inexpensive, largely because it generally does not need to go to trial. "People who fight and litigate are often so in shock at the bill that they refuse to pay them when it's all over," explained on expert, who explained that the recession is a primary motivator for many couples seeking collaborative divorce.

Couples divorcing in Virginia can try the collaborative process with the help of a financial advisor and two attorneys. In some cases, a mental health professional may be necessary as well. Both parties agree to attempt to resolve their divorce with the help of these individuals, but may choose to seek litigation if the collaborative process is unsuccessful.

For collaborative divorce to be successful, both spouses must be willing to put their differences aside and negotiate a solution that works for them and their children. Experts say that it is important that both parties acknowledge their mistakes and avoid speaking poorly of each other. "I tell people, 'You are the adult, and you have to act like an adult,' " explained the divorce consultant.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Can your divorce be collaborative?," Jen Weigel, July 10, 2012