Collaborative Divorce Provides An Alternative To Litigation

Collaborative divorce is a method that allows Pennsylvania couples the opportunity to divorce without the expense, stress and public nature of a litigated divorce. Working with their attorneys, clients work through issues such as property division, child custody, and child support and alimony.

A key component of collaborative divorce is that the parties agree that if they cannot reach an agreement and must go to court, they will get new litigation counsel. This commitment to the process works as an incentive to come to work toward reaching an agreement on all of the issues, but the collaborative process is not for everyone. Learn more about whether the collaborative divorce process might be right for your family by contacting Susan DiGirolamo Attorney at Law for a free video or phone consultation.

What Are The Goals Of The Collaborative Process?

Maintaining Respectful Relationships

Maintaining a good working relationship with your ex-spouse and extended family may be important to you, especially if you have children. This process will allow you to:

  • Continue family relationships
  • Provide financial security
  • Reduce the negative effect of divorce on children
  • Work together on developing routines for your children that will help them transition into a new family dynamic

Cooperation Instead Of Conflict

The very nature of litigation pits one party against the other as opponents. The collaborative law process begins with an agreement that protects the interests of both parties in several ways:

  • Each party’s attorney will be present at every meeting.
  • Each party will be provided with the information needed to make decisions.
  • Expert assistance will be available for financial, mental health or other issues where appropriate.
  • Parties have final authority to make decisions regarding the resolutions of issues of custody, support and the distribution of assets/liabilities.


Information and outcomes in a collaborative divorce remain private and are not exposed in any court proceeding or public record, whereas:

  • In the litigation process, private matters are made public.
  • In the litigation process, marital settlement agreements are sometimes made public.
  • The collaborative process takes place in private meetings of the parties and their counsel, agreements can remain confidential if the parties agree.


Parties and their counsel maintain control of the collaborative process in the following ways:

  • Parties do not cede control of their outcomes or schedules to the court system.
  • All decisions in the collaborative law process are made by the parties.
  • Support payments can be based upon the true needs of the individuals rather than a statutory formula.
  • The agreement regarding distribution of assets and liabilities is developed by the parties with full knowledge of the facts and applicable law.

The Collaborative Process Is Not Right For Everyone

You may not want to pursue a collaborative divorce if:

  • You feel that it would be impossible for you to be in the room with your spouse, even with a professional team present.
  • Your goal is to get as much of the marital estate as possible without regard for your spouse’s interests.
  • You are committed to avoiding getting divorced at all or postponing it for as long as possible.
  • You have so much distrust of your spouse that even with a financial professional examining all relevant financial documents, you still would not feel comfortable making financial decisions.
  • You do not want to take responsibility for decision-making with respect to the issues involved in your divorce.

You Can Discuss Your Questions With An Experienced Attorney

Attorney Susan DiGirolamo offers a free 30-minute video or phone consultation to discuss options to resolve issues surrounding your divorce. Just call our Pittsburgh office at 412-281-1499 or reach us online.