Fairfax collaborative divorce attorney

Collaborative divorce is an alternative method of divorce that uses a team-based approach to negotiate an agreement without going to court.

Spouses and their attorneys work together to resolve their divorce issues, minimizing the emotional and financial costs associated with traditional court-directed litigation.

collaborative divorce attorney virginia

At Select Law Partners, PLLC, we understand how valuable a low-conflict divorce can be for our clients. Our certified Collaborative divorce attorney Sarah G. Goding, who is well-renowned and trusted in family law, uses her experience and expertise to help you and your spouse reach a fair and equitable agreement.

If you would like to learn more about Collaborative divorce, schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys in Fairfax by calling (855) 541-4867.

Collaborative divorce process

  1. Your team – Collaborative divorces are done with a team approach. The team consists of the parties, each party’s trained collaborative attorney, and usually, a coach, who is a mental health provider. They are not there to provide therapy, but rather to help guide the parties through what can often be a difficult process, divorce. There may be other team members as the team determines throughout the process such as a financial neutral or a child specialist.  Each of these professionals can guide within their area of expertise to help spouses reach a fully informed, mutually satisfactory agreement.
  2. Agreement to collaboration – Both parties must agree to pursue a collaborative divorce before they can begin the process. Then they’ll each be represented by an attorney who’s trained in collaborative divorce and whose representation ends if the couple decides to proceed with litigation.
  3. Preparation – The parties then sign a Collaborative Participation Agreement which begins the process. This agreement requires both parties to abide by a set of ground rules and protocols regarding the negotiation process to minimize conflict and preserve the couple’s control over the divorce process. Some of these protocols include:
  • A commitment to engage in open and honest communication
  • Collaboration among all involved parties; and
  • An agreement to settle without resorting to litigation while considering the interests of both parties and the children.

      4. Sign settlement agreement – After a settlement is reached, both parties must sign a Settlement Agreement which lays out their agreement determined by them in the process. This will then be wrapped into a Final Order of Divorce at the appropriate time, without the need for anyone to attend court.  The Court’s only role is to ensure that the agreement is legally valid and enforceable — not to decide who’s right or wrong.

Collaborative divorces consist of the following:

  • Encourages mutual respect. 
  • Emphasizes the needs of children. 
  • Avoids going to court. 
  • Keeps control of the process with the individuals. 
  • Provides for open communication. 
  • Utilizes a problem-solving approach. 
  • Identifies and addresses the interests and concerns of all. 
  • Prepares individuals for new lives. 

How to tell if collaborative divorce could work for you

Collaborative divorce is right for nearly every situation. It is not only for divorces where couples are agreeable in the beginning, but even for the more complicated cases with emotional and financial concerns.

collaborative divorce attorney communication

If you’re still unsure of collaborative divorce and are hesitant to commit to engaging in the process, schedule a consultation with our experienced Collaborative divorce attorney, Sarah G. Goding. She can help you weigh your options and make an informed decision about the best way to proceed with your divorce.

Benefits of collaborative divorce

From an emotional standpoint, collaborative divorce is usually a healthier option because it allows the parties to maintain control over their decisions and encourages them to keep communication lines open.

In turn, this can be beneficial for parents who are worried about the emotional toll litigation might have on their children. Cooperative co-parenting is also more likely to be successful post-divorce when couples work together to come up with an agreement.

Collaborative divorce often results in more creative and mutually beneficial solutions than litigation, especially with property division and buyouts, or with parenting plans and other arrangements that are tailored to their children’s best interests.

With trained professionals guiding the process, couples can draw from a wealth of knowledge and resources not only to reach an agreement, but be put on a path toward success in the new chapter of their life post-divorce.

Related reading: Collaborative Practice Knowledge Kit

Collaborative divorce vs. litigation

There are often significantly more costs when litigating a divorce than when engaging in a collaborative divorce because there are more court fees and it generally takes longer to proceed through the court system.

In a collaborative divorce, the parties are better able to predict the costs because they can choose to agree on the budget for their attorneys and other professionals involved in the process.


Litigating a divorce can be emotionally draining and time-consuming for both parties. The very nature of a court battle may remove the couple’s ability to decide their future and the outcome of their divorce. Sometimes both people are upset with the court’s final order–there is no real “winner” in most court cases.

collaborative divorce signing

In a collaborative divorce, the parties are in control of their destiny because they develop the plan that works best for them and can take into account all of their interests, which are not always represented in the court system.


Collaborative divorce is usually completed much faster than issues can be addressed in litigation–sometimes even before issues can be brought to the court’s attention. This allows people to move forward with building their new lives more quickly and with more confidence because they had a role in deciding what the start of their future will look like.


Traditional litigation is a public affair, meaning that all court documents and proceedings are open to or accessible to the public. Collaborative divorce doesn’t require couples to make any information available to the public, providing another level of peace of mind. It is an entirely confidential situation, which is why more and more Fairfax couples turn to collaboration.

Our collaborative divorce attorneys are here for you

If collaborative divorce sounds like the right choice for you or you want input from an experienced Fairfax family law attorney to determine if it’s a viable option for you, don’t hesitate to contact Select Law Partners, PLLC to learn more. 

Sarah G. Goding

As a premier collaborative divorce attorney in Northern Virginia, Sarah G. Goding is committed to finding innovative and creative solutions tailored to each client’s unique situation. By applying her extensive family law knowledge and robust negotiation skills, she strives to help her clients achieve their desired outcomes while preserving the dignity and respect of all involved parties. 

Call Select Law Partners, PLLC today at (855) 541-4867 for experienced guidance through the collaborative divorce process.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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