For those that are willing (or able) to go the route, a collaborative divorce can be calmer, cheaper, and more efficient than one that goes to trial.

Maria Imbalzano and Corinne Cooke, two attorneys at Stark & Stark in Lawrenceville, who work together on many divorce cases, will present “Divorce Alternatives: Collaborative Divorce, Mediation, Arbitration and Other Options,” a free seminar on Wednesday, April 17, at 6 p.m. at Stark & Stark’s offices at 993 Lenox Drive. Call 609-895-7307 or E-mail mcarney@stark-stark.com.

The seminar is part of Stark & Stark’s Women Attorneys Initiative — a series of free seminars on various legal issues hosted by the firm’s women attorneys. Othee upcoming seminars include “Sexual Harassment” with Megan Christensen and Lanie Turchi on Thursday, April 18; “Understanding Your Automobile Insurance Policy” with Lara Lovett on Wednesday, April 24; and “Strategies for Improving Small Business Cash Flow” with Allyson Cofran on Thursday, April 25. All seminars are free, and all begin at 6 p.m. at the firm’s office.

Cooke and Imbalzano are also scheduled to present, “Divorce: What you need to know but don’t want to ask,” an overview of New Jersey divorce law and the divorce process on Wedensday, May 15.

According to Imbalalzano, in the collaborative process the spouses and their attorneys meet together before any court paperwork is filed to hash out where the chips will fall. Sometimes accountants are brought in to discuss the division of finances (particularly if a business is involved) or therapists come in to counsel couples and their children.

The long wait to settle a marriage in court is one of the things that spikes the costs of a divorce case, Cooke says. A collaborative divorce allows all parties to meet when its convenient for them, not for the courts. As a result, the process is much more efficient.

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