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For most divorcing couples, the single best thing they can do — for the sake of their children, their future relationship, and their wallets — is to keep the process as civil as possible. Fighting about child custody, child support, or alimony in court guarantees big legal bills, bitterness, and anguished children.
That means that choosing the right lawyer is very important. You want someone who can help you keep things calm — but also protect your rights and those of your children. Many lawyers, whether or not they are also trained mediators, can help you negotiate with your spouse and work out the big issues of child custody, support, and property division. So when you interview lawyers, talk to them about negotiating a settlement rather than fighting it out in court.
Unfortunately, it's not always possible to keep a divorce amicable.
Collaborative Divorce Lawyers
More and more family lawyers are getting trained in the techniques of "collaborative divorce." In a collaborative divorce, each spouse hires a specially-trained collaborative attorney, and everyone agrees that they will share information voluntarily and work cooperatively toward a settlement instead of fighting in court. The lawyers and clients in a collaborative process also must agree that if the case can't be settled, both spouses will have to hire new lawyers to handle the litigation. The collaborative process may not work for every couple, but for those couples that are able to communicate effectively and are open to trying this team approach to divorce, it can save them lots of money and stress.