Tips for Collaborative Divorce

While I wish that most people will overcome their differences, experience taught me that some marriages do end in divorce. 75% of people getting a divorce will remarry. The divorce rate in second marriages is even higher than in first marriages.

I have observed that the more amicable the divorce, the more successful the stepfamily is. The more I studied the ways people choose to divorce, the more I realized that the collaborative divorce is one of the gentler and dignified ways to end a marriage.

The purpose of collaborative divorce is to provide a peaceful alternative to the adversarial litigating approach. It is a more dignified and cooperative way, where the spouses are empowered to be proactively involved in making parental and financial decisions for their children and themselves. Ultimately, it provides better circumstances for the couple to act in the best interest of the children. It lays a foundation for cooperation between the parents, making them more effective.

Putting together the collaborative team is the first step the couple takes to start the process. All team members must be trained in the collaborative divorce method. Each spouse chooses an attorney and a divorce coach, with whom they meet individually, a mutual financial specialist, and one child specialist. The team consists of up to 6 professionals.

While the attorneys provide all the legal information, the divorce coaches, who are licensed mental health professionals, guide the spouses through the grieving process over the loss of the marriage. Also, the coach assists in separating feelings from behaviors and gives participants the tools to apply in the negotiation process. A parenting plan is also developed with the coach’s assistance.

The child specialist meets with the children to assess any difficulties that they may have as a result of their parents’ divorce. The child specialist’s input may contribute to improving custody arragements.

The financial specialists anlyze the couples’ finances, both cash flow and assets and make a projection as to how the division of assets may impact each spouse.

The couple meets with the whole team a couple of times based on the needs that come up.

Divorce is at best a very trying period in people’s lives. Utilizing the collaborative method may indeed help couples maintain integrity and dignity which will enable them to move forward with their lives more peacefully.

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