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Two Benefits of Collaborative Divorce You Might Not Know

Collaborative divorce is misunderstood. When I tell people I practice collaborative divorce, I would bet that 90% of them have never heard of it and the remaining 10% have the wrong idea about it. I think one of the problems is the name. When people hear “collaborative,” their first reaction, in my experience, is to fire off a list of reasons why their spouse would never be willing to agree to something like that. Sometimes, they might be right. But that immediate reaction to it frustrates me because in a lot of those cases, I bet if those people or their spouses knew about the advantages of a collaborative divorce, they would be on board. The following is a brief rundown of two of the lesser known (in my opinion) advantages of a Collaborative Divorce.

First: Collaborative divorce allows you to retain control over the final product of your divorce. Sometimes, going to court can be a roll of the dice. Sometimes, the law might not provide for the kind of solution you want. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse are in control of all decisions and solutions. Through the process of brainstorming and idea evaluation, some really interesting and creative solutions come out. Bonus: You don’t even have to like each other for this to work! The point is, the limits in court are what the law allows and what the judge thinks. The limits in a collaborative divorce are your own creativity and open-mindedness. The ability to create your own workable solution that makes the most sense for your own situation can often be much more durable, long-lasting and healthy.

Second: There is a focus on building for the future, not just on the frustrations of right now. Conflict exists in any divorce. Heck, conflict exists in any marriage. In a traditional divorce, the adversarial nature of everything tends to stir the pot. The focus is on “winning” (whatever that means in a divorce) and even on using the threat of court as leverage to “get what you want.” The end result is two people who usually not only hate each other, but have very little hope of maintaining a respectful working relationship when they inevitably have to deal with one another for the children’s sake (i.e., visitation schedules, holidays, health care or education decisions, etc.) And that’s not really best for the kids, is it? In a collaborative divorce, the underlying conflict really gets dealt with and the current frustration and anger really gets de-emphasized. There is a big focus on what you want your life to be like in 5 years, or even 10. There is a focus on what is best for your children. That said, it’s not a big group hug. It’s not sitting around in a circle talking about your feelings. (OK, sometimes it is that but you get the point). There is conflict and drama. There is crying and anger. Just like any other divorce process. It’s not easy work and it isn’t fun. Cheered up yet? The benefit is that the skills you learn and use throughout the collaborative divorce process also work long after the divorce is over. The same methods and procedures you learn and use during the process empower you and your spouse to be able to make changes and to address needs that come up down the road.

Collaborative divorce is one of many processes for divorce that are available. If you want to know more, please continue exploring this site, or call us at (919) 676-6598.

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