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Consider the pros and cons of collaborative divorce in Arizona


This relatively new way to divorce backs away from confrontation and conflict and embraces respect and creativity.

Your Arizona divorce does not have to be a knock-down-drag-out courtroom battle. While that sometimes happens – and might need to in certain kinds of cases – there are modern alternatives to this kind of public conflict. One of those is collaborative divorce, a relatively recent way to divorce.

Collaborative divorce makes some significant departures from traditional divorce – changes that can benefit many people. First, there is a commitment to work through a negotiation process with dignity and respect to reach agreement on all issues. This commitment to less conflict and more positive interaction is one of the bedrocks of the process.

Second, the parties agree to resolve their divorce issues outside the courtroom. Should they ultimately be unable to reach a settlement agreement and need to resort to the court process, they must retain different attorneys.

The process begins with each party signing a participation agreement in which they agree (in addition to staying out of court and acting respectfully) to:

  • Keep information revealed in the process confidential.
  • Voluntarily share all financial and other relevant information.
  • Engage in a negotiation process in a series of four-way meetings involving each spouse and their respective lawyer.
  • Bring into the meetings neutral experts as needed such as financial experts, mental health professionals, appraisers, real estate brokers and others, as necessary to gather information.

Collaboration can help to keep divorcing spouses in a positive relationship after the marriage ends, an especially important thing for those that must co-parent into the future.

Collaborative law is often touted as cheaper than traditional divorce and that is often true. However, if the parties have trouble reaching agreement on issues, paying two lawyers for each four-way meeting in addition to other legal fees can become comparable to other methods.

In addition, collaboration is not a good option where there is a history of violence or abuse or if one spouse has a controlling personality or history of dishonesty. The legal process of formal discovery of information in the court process may be better if there is concern about whether a spouse would be honest and open with producing required financial and asset information voluntarily.

Anyone who believes collaborative divorce may be a good option for them should speak with a lawyer who has received special training in the collaborative process,

Attorney Michael Johnson of the Law Office of Michael A. Johnson in Tucson represents divorce clients in Tucson and the surrounding areas using the collaborative method as well as in mediation or traditional divorce.