Collaboration and child custody: consider the benefits

Collaboration is not exactly the opposite of conflict. After all, collaboration - in whatever context - requires the participating parties to each extend effort aimed at achieving common goals. And sometimes, as each side offers that effort, there can be natural tensions.

This can often be seen in corporate settings, for example, as companies encourage collaboration among cross-functional groups. In the context of divorce, however, collaboration takes on a different connotation.

The process of collaborative divorce certainly takes a different path than traditional divorce litigation. Similarly, as we discussed in our article on collaborative custodyarrangements in New Jersey, a more cooperative approach can be a useful way for couples to arrive at a custody-sharing plan that works well for all concerned.

To be sure, such a plan should above all be in the best interests of the child. But parents who work together to craft a mutually beneficial custody arrangement may find that their own goals are more likely to be met as well.

After all, collaboration, at its most basic, involves working with others to accomplish common goals. It should be noted, though, that in divorce law, "collaborative divorce" can have two, quite different meanings.

One meaning of "collaborative" is more or less as a synonym for cooperative. Concerning the divorce process, it refers to the tone of the couple's dealings with each other.

But "collaborative divorce" can also refer to a specific process used in certain states as an alternative to traditional divorce litigation. When talking about collaboration in the context of divorce, it is therefore important to be clear about which of these meanings is intended.