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Collaborative Divorce vs. Traditional Litigated Divorce

Collaborative Divorce vs. Traditional Litigated Divorce

Collaborative divorce is an alternative method for couples facing divorce.  Through the collaborative process, spouses pledge to resolve all issues without court intervention.  In a collaborative divorce, spouses focus on settlement with the goal to minimize the negative economic, social, and emotional consequences that families face in the traditional adversarial divorce process.

In a traditional divorce, the process to reach a settlement agreement is done so through the lens of the adversarial process, with spouses postured as opponents and case strategy developed to prepare for trial.  As such, even when a case settles without a trial, both spouses walk away feeling disappointed, frustrated, and exhausted, regardless of the outcome.

Fundamentally, a collaborative divorce differs in the approach couples take to dissolve their marriage. These differences include the framework for approaching the divorce process, the timeframe/length of the process, the expenses involved, and outcomes/solutions for families.

Framework for the Process

Collaborative Divorce:  You and your spouse are committed to resolving your divorce with mutual respect, integrity and transparency.  The process is client-centered and focuses on children’s best interest. Conflict is managed and handled respectfully and with the assistance of mental health experts, if needed.

Litigated Divorce:  The court process is based on an adversarial system that pits you against your spouse and often leaves both parties feeling like “they lost.”


Collaborative Divorce:  You and your spouse set the timeframe for moving through and completing the divorce process.

Litigated Divorce:  You and your spouse are at the mercy of a crowded court calendar to determine the length of the process.


Collaborative Divorce:  Collaborative divorces are less expensive than a fully litigated divorce, even with the use of a team of experts (attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial experts).

Litigated Divorce:  The costs of a litigated divorce are unpredictable.  Each stage in a litigated divorce (initial pleadings, temporary issues, discovery, settlement negotiations, trial preparation, and trial) can cost thousands.


Collaborative Divorce:  You and your spouse craft creative solutions (with the help of your attorneys) to meet the unique needs and interests of your family.

Litigated Divorce:  The Court rules on the issues (after usually 1 day of trial) that you and your spouse are bound to abide by.

Angela Lennon

Angela Lennon is a certified collaborative lawyer and a member of the Nebraska Academy of Collaborative Professionals. If you or your spouse is considering a divorce, contact our office to schedule a consultation (or call 402-346-1132) to learn more about collaborative divorce and to find out if a collaborative divorce is right for you.