The Differences Between Amicable and Collaborative Divorce


While going through the divorce process rarely ends as a positive experience for the parties involved, there are some cases where the partners end their marriage on good terms. Sometimes people drift apart, and the best move for both people is to move on and start again with someone new. These couples have options that more contentious divorce proceedings do not — amicable divorce and collaborative divorce

These kinds of divorce take a more unified approach to the upcoming proceedings, but each takes a different approach to divorce. Learning the differences between the two divorce options can help you and your partner decide which avenue makes the most sense for your current situation. 

What Is an Amicable Divorce?

An amicable divorce happens when both parties agree to an even split of their marital assets. Most divorces that end up being contested stem from hurt feelings, pettiness, and a desire to get a “win” over your soon-to-be former spouse. These feelings can lead to ugly court proceedings where both parties leave with hurt feelings, bruised egos, and an uneven split of assets. 

How the Amicable Divorce Process Works

While traditional divorces can involve long and complicated divorce hearings, an amicable divorce takes most of the shouting and arguments out of the court. While amicable may not mean they will remain friends and in each other’s lives post-divorce, it does mean the final settlement agreement will be reached civilly. These negotiations are conducted in good faith and under the supervision of experienced family law attorneys.

Amicable divorces can also prove beneficial to any children the couple may have had together. An amicable divorce usually means there won’t be drawn-out custody litigation and less traumatic court appearance for the children. Amicable divorces are generally in the children’s best interests and help them adjust to their new situation and court-approved parenting plans. 

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

While the divorce process, amicable or otherwise, can involve long days at court, emotionally charged conversations, and traumatic experiences, it doesn’t have to get as far as the court system. With the help of a collaborative divorce attorney, this approach recognized by the New Jersey Family Law Act emphasizes reducing conflict, preserving families as much as possible, and promoting lasting settlement agreements everyone can agree on. 

One of the significant differences between the collaborative divorce process and traditional divorce is how the proceedings are conducted. Collaborative divorces occur exclusively outside the courts, where the attorney-client relationship takes on a negotiator role that provides sound legal advice. 

How the Collaborative Divorce Process Works

The collaborative divorce process also provides both parties with collaboratively trained mental health, child custody specialists, and neutral financial professionals. These individuals help all involved parties remain focused on the negotiations at hand and have access to support professionals if and when they need them. 

Both parties will want to find lawyers and divorce coaches well versed in collaborative divorce proceedings. They have the experience necessary to ensure everything from property division, child support, and spousal support is handled with extreme care and trust. They can help guide you through the process and help you and your spouse negotiate an equitable and fair settlement. 

Finding Your Amicable and Collaborative Divorce Attorney 

Once you and your spouse have had the difficult conversation about going through with your collaborative divorce, you need an experienced legal team to help guide you through the proceedings. Keith Family Law has the expertise to help couples looking for a divorce attorney experienced in dealing with less contentious divorce proceedings. 

Whether you and your spouse go for the amicable or collaborative route, our team will help guide you through the entire process. Contact our team to schedule your first consultation.

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