Almost all divorces end up in a negotiated settlement. (In most states, less than 5% of all divorces actually go to trial.) Therefore, the most important thing for couples to consider, before they start down the path toward divorce, is how to negotiate the best possible resolution to your divorce. When I ask most clients what they want from a divorce process, they almost always talk about two things: 1.) They want a divorce that is amicable. This makes sense. Most wise people would want an amicable divorce; either for the sake of their children, the protection of their finances, preserving their own mental health, or all three. No sane person would choose to have a messy divorce if they can avoid it. 2.) They want to feel protected. At the same time, almost everyone wants to feel some sense of protection. They are entering into important agreements that will impact their lives and, perhaps, the lives of the children for many years. They do not want to sign an agreement that they will resent or regret. These two negotiating goals do not need to conflict with each other. The biggest mistake that people can make is thinking that these two goals are in conflict with each other. They want an amicable divorce but they think the need to hire an aggressive lawyer to protect their needs. Or, alternatively, they think that all lawyers will be aggressive so they avoid getting legal counsel and end up with a settlement that they regret. Contrary to common belief, it is possible for divorcing clients to have the “best of both worlds”. This is the very reason that Collaborative Practice has grown all over the world. The best scenario, of course, would be to have an attorney who will protect your interests and yet preserve an amicable environment. Collaborative Attorneys are trained in non-adversarial negotiating strategies and they are retained for settlement purposes only. Because they focus on settlement only, they work to help your spouse to “say yes” by using interest based methods that help you get better outcomes, without creating the rancor and expense of using adversarial methods. To learn more about Collaborative Practice, and how it can be used to help you get your best outcomes, go to www.collaborativelaw.org or www.divorcechoice.com.