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Could collaboration ease property division chaos?

When a Colorado couple is moving through a divorce, the division of marital wealth is often a top priority. Property division is also a prime area of contention among many couples, and can be the topic that brings otherwise amicable negotiations to a halt. One state has taken a novel approach to easing strife between divorcing spouses, in the form of a law that requires parties to attempt collaboration prior to taking their case before a court of law.

The Collaborative Law Process Act took effect in early July, and compels couples who divorce in that state to attempt to reach an agreement on as many issues as possible before they escalate the matter. Those who support the new law hope that by forcing couples to at least attempt a collaborative process, more families can resolve their divorce differences on their own. That could lead to lower legal bills, swifter divorces and less strife between parents who will have to move on to co-parent together.

When it comes to property division, couples who try collaboration do not have to go through negotiations on their own. Each spouse still retains his or her own attorney, who will guide them through the process and advise on available options. The difference arises in the shared commitment to try and reach a resolution on matters without having to fight a number of small battles.

It should be noted that collaboration is not a good fit for every couple. In cases where one party is abusive or controlling, working out a mutually agreeable property division solution may not be possible. However, for most Colorado couples, collaboration is an approach that deserves consideration, even if it is not required by law.  

Source:, "Will New Florida Law Usher in Kinder, Gentler Divorces?", Jacob Maslow, July 3, 2017

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