By the time some married couples make it to the divorce attorney, they can't even be in the same room without an argument. If that is you, then a collaborative divorce may not be the best path for addressing the many issues that come up during the divorce process. However, when spouses can go into a divorce on mutual terms, and are able to discuss matters amicably, then a collaborative divorce becomes a great option.
In a traditional divorce, spouses would each retain their own attorney. Discovery would be performed via questions and answers, as well as subpoenaed documents. A trial would then be set, and the parties would meet in a courtroom where a judge would oversee decisions on everything from property division, to custody and to visitation rights.
On the other hand, in a collaborative divorce, both parties and their respective attorneys would meet amicably in a neutral setting outside of the courtroom, often an office or conference room. There, the parties can, and are in fact expected to, both actively participate in an ongoing discussion to reach an agreeable resolution. The difference in a collaborative divorce and mediation is that there is no third party, such as a mediator, in the collaborative process. Once a resolution is reached, both parties would sign an agreement which would be presented to the Judge. The parties do not have to appear in court.
Divorce presents a whole host of items to discuss - more so if there are children involved. Issues the parties would need to address would include custody, visitation rights, and property division. These discussions can often become complex and detailed. Depending on a particular divorcing couple's situation, though, there may be multiple ways to come to a resolution.