Divorce is tough on all of the people involved. The traditional divorce can make the problems a couple has during the marriage even worse due to the adversarial process of a divorce in the court system. Attorneys and therapists who were tired of seeing families struggle during divorce proceedings have tried to find a better way to divorce without destroying the dignity of everyone involved.
In collaborative divorce, each spouse hires an attorney that explains the law to the client and represents him/her throughout the entire process. Both spouses may also hire a coach who is usually a therapist that helps him/her understand the emotions he/she is feeling and also helps him/her learn how best to communicate with their soon to be ex-spouse. If the divorcing couple has children, they will have to communicate with each other for years to come and the children will benefit immensely if the parents are able to get along. Usually a financial advisor will be retained for the benefit of both parties. The financial advisor is neutral and simply looks at all of the finances and can also help each party look at budgets. The financial advisor can share all of the information with all of the parties. Oftentimes there will also be a therapist that works with the children to help make sure the children’s needs are not being left out of the equation.
The parties may meet with their coaches alone to work on the issues they need to address individually in order to be able to mentally and emotionally move forward with the divorce. The attorneys will meet with their client privately but then there will also be meetings where the attorneys and the clients all meet together to try to negotiate an agreement that will work for all of the parties. This is a process that takes time but it can lead to an agreement that all parties are happy with and are able to live with in the future. Taking the time to negotiate an agreement during the divorce often negates the problems down the road that traditional divorces incur. If the couple is unable to come to an agreement and if one of the parties decides to file a lawsuit, the lawyers in collaborative divorce cannot represent the clients in court. This keeps the process open because things that are stated during the meetings cannot be used against any of the parties should the case end up in court. It also gives all of the people involved a real investment in finding a solution that will work for everyone.
Collaborative law may not be for everyone. Both spouses must agree to it and everyone must be willing to do the work necessary to get to an agreement. It may be more work than a traditional divorce, but it may be worth all the effort. Hopefully, people can move past the divorce and on to the next stage of their life Also, collaborative divorce may make life more tolerable for the children of divorcing couples.