Having witnessed the harm a court battle can cause to a divorcing couple and their children, divorcing spouses are often in search of options besides litigation. Increasingly, many of them are turning to Collaborative Divorce.

But, how to get started?  Which Northern Virginia divorce lawyers are “collaborative” in their approach? As you might expect, some are not at all collaborative. Picture War of the Roses, Kramer vs. Kramer, or Arnie Becker in L.A. Law.

Here are some suggestions for finding a top Fairfax, Va. collaborative divorce lawyer:

Collaborative Education

The attorney you select should be trained in the Collaborative Process.  He or she should have at least successfully completed a basic training in interdisciplinary collaborative divorce law. If the lawyer has been practicing collaborative law for awhile, he or she ought to frequently go to advanced trainings and courses to make sure his or her skills are current. Collaborative Divorce practice progresses and changes, and it’s essential that your attorney be up-to-date.


Find out when a lawyer was initially trained in the Collaborative Process and the number of collaborative divorces in which he or she has participated. How did those cases go? Did most of them settle, therefore allowing the spouses to avoid court? Is collaborative law a focus of the attorney’s practice and something about which they’re genuinely passionate or something they occasionally do while primarily litigating?

Collaborative Professionals of Northern Virginia (“CPNV”) Meetings. Does the attorney routinely attend CPNV meetings?  Outside of participating in cases, monthly CPNV meeting are how Northern Virginia collaborative divorce lawyers cultivate strong professional relationships with one another.

Mediation Training. The Collaborative Process and mediation

are different forms of alternative dispute resolution.  However, there is significant intersection between the talents and abilities needed to be successful in both processes. Many Northern Virginia collaborative divorce attorneys are also Virginia Supreme Court certified family mediators.