With so many options for transitioning your relationship from “married” to “not,” it’s hard to know which path is best for you and your family. Here are three reasons why Collaborative Divorce may be a good choice for you:
Collaborative Divorce seeks to minimize conflict and maximize the chance of coming up with the best possible solutions. You and your spouse will be part of a team that works together to brainstorm ideas and craft an agreement that works as well as possible for the entire family. This doesn’t mean that the process is easy: divorce is generally a challenging and difficult process no matter what. But, it does mean that you’ll be oriented towards and encouraged to pursue solutions instead of unproductive (and expensive!) battles.
In the Collaborative Divorce process, issues are resolved during private, confidential meetings instead of being litigated in a public courtroom. The final agreements you make will be filed with the Court and will be accessible to certain people within the Court system, but your negotiation and discussion will be completely private.
Collaborative Divorce seeks to empower you to make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Instead of handing over these major life choices to a stranger (like a Judge), the Collaborative Divorce Team works together to gather all the necessary information, brainstorm ideas, and empower you to make clear-headed, thoughtful choices for yourself.
Clients often ask me to explain what a Collaborative Divorce Team is. People aren’t used to thinking of the divorce process as including a “team” of any kind, because many folks expect divorce to be a battle…where people work against each other instead of with each other. Don’t get me wrong: Collaborative Divorces still involve two people (the spouses, or “clients” as we call them in Collaborative Divorce) who have opposing interests.
But, instead of leaving the clients to fight each other in an effort to get a bigger piece of the pie, the Collaborative Divorce Team works together to find creative ways to meet as many of *both clients’* needs as possible and – wherever we can – expand the pie itself.
The Collaborative Divorce Team consists of six people: the two clients, each client’s Collaborative Divorce attorney, a Collaborative Financial Professional (“FP”), and a Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (“CDF”). While the attorneys are Collaboratively trained and are committed to the Collaborative process, they are still advocates and represent their respective client’s best interests. The FP and CDF, though, are neutral. They don’t advocate for either client, and they work instead to help both clients overcome obstacles, generate ideas, and reach agreements.
Please stay tuned for my next post, which will address more in-dept each Collaborative Professional’s individual role.
Divorce can be a frightening and destabilizing experience, but it can also be a chance to empower yourself and be an active participant in the way your life is transforming. In a divorce mediation, you and your partner each have a chance to express your goals and needs, and the mediator helps you explore options for creative ways to meet as many of those goals as possible. I’m often amazed by how, with my guidance as a mediator, divorcing spouses are able to improve their communication and come up with solutions that work for both of them. Instead of handing all the power over to a Judge, people who choose mediation hold the power over their futures in their own hands.
NBC recently posted an article describing the Collaborative divorce process and how it can help couples reduce emotional trauma as they transition away from being together and towards being apart. Check it out: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101602760
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