Neutralizing Feuds Through a New Approach to Divorce
The structure of traditional divorce litigation unfailingly puts spouses in fight mode, and often forces them to challenge every demand or request made by the opposing side. As a result, many spouses will emerge from the legal process even more disconnected and set against each other than when they started the divorce. Not only is this approach emotionally draining and continually stressful, it is also very expensive, and could leave both parties feeling they did not receive a fair and balanced result. One alternative method that promotes civil discourse over divisive confrontation is collaborative divorce. While it is nearly impossible to completely separate the emotion provoked by ending a marriage, sorting out how to disentangle two lives can be accomplished in a respectful and productive manner, especially if both spouses are open to viewing the process more like a business negotiation instead of a no-holds-barred fight. A discussion of how the collaborative process lends itself to a non-combative approach to divorce, how this can benefit both parties in moving past this life-altering event, and obtaining results that make practical long-term sense to each spouse, will follow below.
Taking a Different Approach
The ultimate goal of any divorce process is to end the marriage in the most satisfactory way possible, and this mark of success should be the focus of the proceedings and not the multiple ways the other spouse committed wrongs in the past. Collaborative divorce is conducted with the parties sitting across from one another so that each spouse can directly communicate what he/she wants from the other, and how he/she envisions their relationship operating once everything is settled. By taking away the buffer of a judge or mediator, both spouses are encouraged to commit to hammering out their own solutions, which requires cooperation and compromise. This does not mean bumps will not occur, but similar to negotiating a business deal, the spouses do not work alone. They each have a specially-trained collaborative attorney and professionals in mental health and finances to assist in getting over the rough spots and keeping the parties focused on the end goal – dissolving the marriage as cleanly and smoothly as possible. By viewing collaborative divorce less as an opportunity to punish the other spouse and more as a chance to preserve a working relationship, it becomes easier to separate what is really important from other issues that are easier to concede. Thus, similar to a business transaction, each side tries to formulate realistic expectations that leave enough for the other side to feel comfortable with the outcome.
Collaborative divorce is designed to bring resolution to divorce-related issues in a non-combative manner. Consequently, the focus of the process is finding common ground from the beginning and using it as a starting point to approach unresolved issues. This contrasts with the court-based approach, which is concerned with the application of the law and how the family’s circumstances fit within that framework. This restrictive approach is often the cause of protracted disputes, but collaborative divorce removes this hindrance by allowing the parties to decide what arrangement is best for them. This flexibility harkens back to the business-oriented approach where the parties are most interested in preserving as much freedom and privacy over the negotiation of terms and the resolution of future disputes as possible. Collaborative divorce sessions are protected as confidential under the law, and allow the parties to consider not only how to settle past issues from the marriage, but also the grounds for settling disagreements going forward. Courts do not generally consider future disputes, leaving ex-spouses with the very real possibility of needing to return to litigation to resolve disputes which arise in the future.
Contact a Collaborative Divorce Attorney
Divorce naturally brings up a lot of questions about the future and the legalities of ending a marriage. Do not enter into this important process without first talking with an attorney experienced in divorce matters. The attorneys at Orlando’s firm, Goodblatt · Leo, understand how stressful this time is for you, and can offer you alternatives to the contentious standard divorce case that will likely better serve you and your family in the long-term. Contact the office today to learn the benefits of collaborative divorce, and whether it will work for you.