Collaborative Divorce Lawyers in Maine

Collaborative Divorce Lawyers in Maine

A collaborative divorce is one where each spouse commits to settling the main issues without the need for litigation or a courtroom trial and where there is no “winner” or “loser”.

In a collaborative divorce in Maine, mutually acceptable terms for property division, spousal support, custody/parenting, and child support are negotiated and agreed upon. Then documentation is prepared and the only involvement of a judge is usually to approve the agreement.

With a collaborative process between respective divorce lawyers, the spouses aim to troubleshoot, solve differences, and avoid disputes. In doing so, they maintain control of the final decision-making rather than asking a judge to decide based on the evidence provided.

In pursuing a collaborative divorce, the parties agree not to litigate. If litigation does, however, result, the spouses will need to find new divorce litigation lawyers to represent them.

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How is a Collaborative Divorce Different in Maine?

Couples who want to pursue a collaborative divorce need to have the mindset that they are troubleshooting to solve a problem. In a collaborative divorce, the focus is not on fighting and arguing. Couples should not view the outcome of divorce as winning or losing, but as reaching a resolution that works for everyone.

In a collaborative divorce, two spouses and their respective attorneys legally agree to keep the case out of court. Your Maine family attorney is still there to help you understand your rights, and you will want to ensure that your attorney is supportive of and experienced in collaborative divorces.

In fact, if the collaborative process is not successful, your attorney will need to withdraw, and you and your spouse will need to start from scratch with new representation and litigation. This is a costly consequence meant to encourage resolution whenever possible. 

Through a collaborative divorce, you can come to agreements on several challenging issues such as:

Once you and your spouse have agreed on these issues and any others, your attorney can file your agreement in court. As an uncontested filing, it is usually a simple process. 

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What are the benefits of a collaborative divorce in Maine?

When both spouses are willing to negotiate, a collaborative divorce may be the best way to reach a divorce agreement. It only works if both parties are prepared to sit down and discuss terms but the benefits can be considerable.

Following are the main “pros” of a collaborative divorce:

Litigated divorces in Maine are generally time-consuming and expensive. Considerable legal and court costs are the norm. A collaborative divorce changes that and, while there are still some legal costs, you avoid unnecessary fees and charges.
If you have children in your marriage, they can be exposed to unnecessary stress with an adversarial approach to divorce. Collaborative divorce helps avoid that with an approach that looks for common ground and reduces tension. This is generally easier for everyone involved.

If you have dependent children, parenting responsibilities do not stop after a divorce. Spouses will need to work together in the best interests of the children. This is generally easier if collaborative steps have been taken to reduce conflict, disputes, and bitterness.

With collaborative divorces, you communicate in a safe, informal environment compared to that of a courtroom. Collaborative meetings between spouses and lawyers are set to discuss matters openly, honestly, and in the right spirit.

Litigation or arbitration means you hand the final decision on the key matters in your divorce to a judge/arbitrator. That is not in the interests of most spouses and a collaborative divorce helps you remain masters of your destiny with the divorce proceedings.

A litigated Maine divorce will be settled strictly according to the state’s divorce law. Collaborative divorce has more scope to be creative with the settlement. Provided both parties agree and decisions are made in the best interests of the children (if applicable), the judge can sign the divorce decree.

Litigated divorces end with a “winner” and a “loser”. That is the nature of trials, where the judge must decide who has presented the best arguments. Collaborative divorce aims to negotiate “win-win” solutions and fair agreements.

When two spouses work on an agreement collaboratively, they are more likely to make binding commitments to honoring it than when being ordered to follow certain actions. Sometimes, court-ordered solutions lead to violations, modification requests, and even being held in contempt of court.

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Collaborative divorce process vs traditional divorce process

family collaborative law attorney in MaineThe traditional divorce process involves either a do-it-yourself-settlement, a mediated solution or litigation. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Collaborative divorce lawyers can provide legal advice and support as required, with each spouse hiring a lawyer to represent their interests. Hiring may be coordinated between the spouses or each spouse may appoint a lawyer separately, ensuring that there are no conflicts of interest.

A mediator is not permitted to provide legal advice and can only facilitate an agreement — which is not always possible.

Collaborative divorces are a good solution to prevent litigation and a trial (if mediation does not work) as collaborative divorce attorneys are trained in interest-based conflict resolution to reach common ground and avoid disputes.

What is the collaborative divorce process in Maine?

Collaborative divorce in Maine usually follows this basic process:

  • Each spouse hires an attorney: when selecting a collaborative divorce lawyer, ensure that they meet your required approach for negotiation and finding common ground. An attorney who specializes in divorce litigation may not be a good candidate.
  • The spouses and attorneys sign a “no court” agreement: both attorneys will need to withdraw from the case if litigation is later required.
  • The first meeting is usually a private one with your lawyer, where you discuss your ideal outcome, preferences and limits during the negotiation process. It is important to communicate this to your attorney before the process starts.
  • You and your attorney then meet with your spouse and attorney in a series of several meetings. Other professionals like child custody specialists and accountants may be required to assist. These third-party individuals must be neutral and only offer a professional opinion to try to settle your divorce without court intervention.
  • Once an acceptable settlement agreement has been reached, your lawyers will prepare the documentation and contact a family or domestic relations court in Maine to file your divorce papers and agreement. Being a collaborative divorce, this should be simple and is treated as an “uncontested” procedure.
  • A judge will review your documents and, if everything is in order, sign the divorce decree and declare you as legally divorced.

In most cases, the collaborative divorce process takes at least a few months. Matters are generally not decided in a single meeting and, for large and complex marital estates with children, multiple meetings between spouses and attorneys are usually required.

Try to stay patient as the process works towards a satisfactory outcome for all parties. However long a collaborative divorce takes, it is likely to be much quicker than litigation.

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Call 207-230-6884 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled family law attorneys today.

We serve many clients, just like you, across Maine in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, & Lincoln Counties.


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Divorce is a highly emotional and stressful experience for most people. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Having a strong divorce attorney in your corner can help ensure that you and your children walk away from this process with the best opportunities available for future success and happiness.