Why Consider a Collaborative Divorce?
There are many compelling reasons to end your marriage through a collaborative divorce. For example, the process helps you:
• Protect your children from the harmful effects of divorce and makes it easier for you and your spouse to raise them together once your marriage is officially over. In fact, this is one of the main reasons that parents with young children opt for a collaborative divorce.
• Communicate productively with your spouse, even if the two of you can’t stand one another anymore.
• Feel good about the way you’ve ended your marriage. Although going through a divorce is never easy or pleasant, the collaborative process helps you maintain your dignity rather than getting “down in the dirt” as happens in so many litigated divorces. As a result, at the end of your collaborative divorce you’re more apt to feel good about the way you conducted yourself and more apt to be friends with your spouse, if that’s something that you both want. In fact, in some collaborative divorces, spouses begin the process hating one another and barely able to speak to each other much less look one another in the eyes. Yet, by the time their divorce is over, some of them are talking, smiling and even hugging each other. Of course, other couples who go through the collaborative divorce process are never able to get over their dislike for one another. Even so, with the help of their team, they are still able to negotiate a settlement agreement that is acceptable to both of them.
• Come up with creative solutions to the issues in your divorce that respond to your particular needs and the realities of your life, rather than having to settle for the cookie cutter solutions that tend to be the products of a litigated divorce because of the limitations on what is allowed under the law. In other words, the collaborative process won’t limit you and your spouse in terms of possible solutions to the issues in your divorce. For example, in a litigated divorce, the law and therefore the court does not address how ex-spouses should handle the expenses of their children once the children have turned 18 and are out of high school even though the post-high school years can be a very expensive time in a child’s life, especially if the child attends college. In a collaborative divorce however, you and your spouse can reach an up-front agreement on how you will handle those expenses.
• Honor the good aspects of your marriage. There are some positive aspects to nearly every marriage even if the marriage does not work out in the end. For example, you and your spouse may have children from your marriage. The collaborative process allows you to recognize and pay tribute to what is good about your marriage rather than just focusing on all of its problems and shortcomings.
• Move on with your life. The process helps you focus on and plan for your future rather than staying stuck in the problems of your marriage. Many spouses also find the collaborative divorce process to be healing, which makes it easier for them to put their failed marriage behind them and move forward.