I was contemplating the ways Collaborative Divorce can help families, and it occurred to me that the process can be somewhat like disassembling the parts of a whole and reassembling them into a different creation. My mind then went to the ever-popular erector set. It can be taken apart and put back together in seemingly-endless permutations. But you just can’t tear the original creation apart. You have to dismantle it piece by piece, with care and mindfulness, so the individual pieces are kept in good working order. The next masterpiece can then be built with full integrity because its parts are still strong.
You see, when you divorce and you and your spouse have children together, that familial unit will never end. It’s like the erector set in that all the parts will still be there. It will just look different after the divorce. It will function differently.
I know this might not be what you want to hear, since if you are divorcing, you have reasons not to want to spend the rest of your life with your spouse. The fact is, however, if you have a minor child, you will need to have a co-parenting relationship with your spouse until the child graduates from high school or turns 18 years of age (if the child graduates when she is still a minor). And then there will be the child-centered life events that bring you and your spouse together. The graduations from college. The weddings. The birth of grandchildren. The birthday parties. You can see that the relationships won’t end. The coming together of the members of the family will not end.
And wouldn’t you want for those “working parts” in the “set” to be in good functioning order when it’s time for the new creation to be built?
Collaborative Divorce has the potential to do just that for your family.
The process is built upon honesty, transparency, and as the name conveys, collaboration. All participants are contractually required to conduct themselves with civility and respect thus fostering respectful and civil relationships post-divorce.
Collaborative Divorce is a way to divorce that encourages you and your spouse to take charge of the outcome of disassembling and reassembling the family. It encourages you to work together with the support of your individual collaboratively-trained attorneys. In addition to your attorneys, the team consists of a neutral Mental Health Professional (“MHP”) and a neutral Financial Professional (“FP”). The MHP is not there to diagnose or treat anyone, but instead serves as a team leader, communication coach, and co-parenting/timesharing advisor. The FP will help you both decide issues related to the division of your assets and liabilities as well as spousal and child support.
The collaborative process can be challenging and it’s no tea party because after all, it’s divorce. However, the process is meant to support individuals in making good choices and that tends to have the effect of mitigating the harm that divorce causes to every member of the family.
Conversely, in litigation, the judge decides everything from how your assets and liabilities are to be divided, to the most intimate and personal things like when you will spend time with your child. By litigating your case you leave critical, life-changing decisions up to a stranger, albeit a professionally-seasoned and fair stranger.
Furthermore, parties often finish trial feeling emotionally depleted, if not damaged. If you couldn’t work things out in mediation, and you go to trial, most likely your journey has felt like engaging in battle. The relationship between former spouses is usually in a deplorable state and the children frequently are an uncalculated and certainly unanticipated casualty because of the acrimony and stress between Mom and Dad.
If you think Collaborative Divorce may be the option you have been seeking because keeping those “working parts” strong is important to you, I wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to talk with you about it. Please call Mara Law, P.A. at 386.672.8081 to schedule your consultation. I look forward to helping you and your family move forward in a constructive way.