Rarely (never) does a person wake up one morning and decide they want a divorce. Often, at least one spouse has been contemplating divorce for weeks, months, or even years. The discord or conflict escalates over time and one or both spouses finally decide the time has come to part.
You may recognize this scenario and want a divorce but fear a divorce will just escalate the conflict and make it worse. That often happens if you divorce using the traditional litigation process. If you divorce using mediation or the collaborative process, you and your spouse can learn how to communicate without conflict.
Traditional Litigation and Conflict
The traditional litigation model pits the parties against one another. You and your spouse do not work together, but are on opposite sides, each of you trying to be the winner. When the process is over, you are more likely to feel hostility toward your former spouse, who you perceive as being the winner, or because of things that were said during the litigation. There is often very little mutual discussion or settlement negotiations involved.
Mediation and Collaboration
Both mediation and collaboration are divorce processes designed to help you communicate with your spouse so the two of you can come to your own settlement agreement.
Mediation: In mediation, you and your spouse, and sometimes your respective attorneys, sit down with a neutral third party who is a trained mediator. The mediator guides you through discussions and making your own decisions. The mediator can tell you what the law is generally, but does not give you legal advice.
Collaborative Divorce: In the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse work with your collaboratively trained attorneys, and often neutral third parties, such as financial experts, child mental health specialists, and divorce coaches, to help you form your own divorce agreement.
You will learn new ways of communication that are more businesslike and less confrontational. You work together and with the professionals to put together your own agreement. It is not always easy, but when the process is over, you both feel like you won some, lost some, and can move into your future with less animosity than at the end of a litigated divorce.
If you have children, you develop communication skills for your future interactions. You will be involved for the rest of your lives as your children mature. Collaborative divorce helps you co-parent without conflict.
Contact Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law
For more information about how the collaborative process works, and how it can reduce the conflict in your relationship, contact us at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law.