I recently lost a family member to cancer. Some people might not think of us as family, because he was my ex-husband. But because we divorced collaboratively, we were able to remain family from the very beginning of the divorce process up until I held his hand on his deathbed. As hard as it has been watching my children lose their dad, it has also been reassuring knowing that our sons felt loved, nurtured, and cared for, by both of us. That is because we made the decision to be the best co parents we could be. Many years after the divorce, I am convinced that the collaborative divorce process laid the groundwork for that reality. It helped us identify when it was appropriate to put our personal needs aside, during the divorce process and beyond, to do what was best for our children. What’s more, remaining good friends and family, was one of our goals throughout the divorce and became one of the best benefits of Collaborative Divorce for us.
How does collaborative divorce help preserve relationships?
In collaborative divorce, you will be working with a team. The collaborative divorce team is made up of your attorney, your spouse’s attorney, one neutral financial professional (NFP) and one neutral mental health professional (NMHP). This team approach helps enhance the quality of decisions made during the divorce process, which in turn provide the best environment for preserving relationships within the family. Unlike litigation, a collaborative divorce allows the couple to explore solutions in a safe, confidential environment where they are each supported by their collaborative attorney, as well as the two neutrals assigned to the case.
Here are a few things you will learn during the collaborative divorce process:
- How to communicate about hard subjects without allowing anger to control you or your spouse
- How to brainstorm creative solutions with your unique situation in mind
- How to develop a post-divorce budget that works for you
- How to co-parent together so that your children have less to worry about during the divorce and beyond
Here are a few positive things you will experience during the collaborative divorce process:
- Going at your own pace as you explore creative solutions
- Having a confidential process reduces the number of court appearances in front of strangers.
- Children are better able to foster good relationships with both parents while not feeling as if they have been put in the middle of their parents’ issues
All these things, and more, will help you develop and preserve good relationships: relationships between you and your ex; relationships with your children; and relationships with extended family. These are just a few of the many benefits you will experience when you choose to divorce collaboratively. Choosing collaborative divorce is one of the best decisions I ever made and I’m confident it will be for you as well. And the important relationships in your life will have the best chance of success moving forward.