To say that divorce involves sensitive feelings and issues is, in the majority of cases, an understatement. Most of us have either seen a friend or loved one go through a divorce, or have been through one ourselves. It’s obvious that this is not an easy life event. There are deep-seated emotions, in addition to important practical issues involving property, finances, and sometimes child custody. Navigating these various elements of a divorce to achieve an amicable and efficient outcome can seem daunting to couples and the people around them.

At the same time, divorce often holds a promise of new beginnings, fresh starts, and healthier family dynamics. It’s never the first choice of a married couple, especially when kids are involved — but when it becomes apparent that divorce may be the right way to go, it’s often for very good reasons. When the process is constructive, and when both parties feel like their voices and concerns are being heard, the positive benefits of divorce are more immediately accessible to everyone involved.

There is a common issue, however, involving couples who are on the verge of talking about divorce. Maybe the subject has been mentioned seriously before, and maybe it hasn’t. It could simply be something that one or both individuals have been privately considering. Either way, there often comes a tipping point when the subject has to breached seriously for the first time. And the question many people have is: How do I approach my partner on this subject?

The most constructive answer may lie in actually knowing what options are available to you, in terms of going through the process of divorce. For many people, when they first discuss the topic of divorce with their spouse, they don’t really know what the process or entails — or that there is something called collaborative divorce which could make the whole process easier, more amicable, and less expensive.

Essentially, collaborative divorce is a process that’s legally recognized in New Jersey, wherein divorcing parties take a truly “collaborative” approach to the process, including finding solutions to the most sensitive problems, such as child custody and finances. This is done with the help of professionals, which may include divorce mediators, financial analysis, and legal professionals.

If you’re considering divorce, and want to know more about your prospects for a successful collaborative divorce, you can start by asking yourself whether there are any deep seated disagreements or roadblocks that may appear. In other words, do you think that you and your divorcing partner are personally ready to approach divorce in a collaborative way? Or do you foresee a much more contentious process?

Whatever the answer, it may be worth mentioning collaborative divorce to your partner, and if you both find the idea to be agreeable, setting up a meeting with a professional divorce mediator. This can give you both a much clearer perspective on what’s possible through collaborative divorce, and the mindset that’s required from both parties in order to achieve the best possible result.