The Biggest Misconception About Divorce And How To Avoid It

in Divorce,Family Law,Reasons to hire a Divorce Attorney

When we think about the precious events the mark our lives, we don’t tend to put divorce on that list. In reality, we are all reluctant enthusiasts when it comes to divorce. But once we get over the first hurdle of accepting that our marriage should end, we often get a second wind that spurs us to literally prepare for a war. In fact, most of us think of divorce as a fight to death – and one we have to win at all costs.

What would you say if I told you that this is a huge misconception? In fact, it’s dead wrong.
Here’s the truth. Divorce does not have to be a fight to the end – an adversarial blood bath in which you and your spouse each have an attorney who duke it out in court for as long as it takes for one party to win and the other to fall in defeat. And divorce doesn’t have to be a process that decimates your bank account and breaks your spirit in the process.

If there were another way, would you choose it? I think the answer is an emphatic “yes.”

In fact, there is another way. Believe it or not, you can choose to work with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney to come to an agreement quickly, efficiently, and with far less expense and heartache.

Collaborative practice is the best thing to happen to divorcing couples in decades. In collaborative practice you and your spouse are each counseled by an attorney. All four of you agree to forgo traditional adversarial proceeding in favor of collaboration in real time to craft an agreement that works for everyone.

Divorce mediation attorneys who specialize in collaborative practice have the training to help you navigate this difficult journey with a dignity and purpose that will benefit your entire family. In this process, we eliminate the win/lose paradigm and replace that with a process in which we reach an agreement that works for you.

With an experienced and well-trained collaborative practice expert, you can cover a lot of ground: financial issues including child custody and child support, parenting schedules, medial insurance coverage, property division, possible tax consequences, and spousal support, to name only a few.

And it’s not rocket science. It basically pulls from the hallmarks that guide all good conflict resolution: 1) you agree to temporarily forgo the traditional adversarial proceedings 2) you don’t set out to capitalize on the mistakes of your spouse 3) you agree to get everything out in the open 4) you agree to keep appropriate information confidential 4) and you agree to treat your spouse as you would want to be treated.

Though I am still a practicing divorce mediation attorney who serves as a neutral third party for couples seeking divorce, I’ve also added the collaborative practice model because some spouses need the extra support that can be offered by financial specialists, divorce coaches, child specialists and other experts.

You can think of collaborative practice as being a hybrid that brings together the best of mediation practice and also a stable of experts who all work together on behalf of you and your spouse to provide the expertise and clarity you need to make the best decisions possible.

For these reasons, I think of collaborative practice as a powerful second cousin to mediation. It’s particularly powerful if your spouse is intimidated by the mediation process because the mediator is neutral to both parties. If your spouse is unwilling to sit down with you and a mediator, try suggesting the collaborative practice model to your spouse. It can be the best of both worlds because it enables your spouse to have an attorney present with him or her. Sometimes that level of support is enough to bring your spouse to the table, when a traditional mediation setting would not.

From my point of view as an attorney mediator, both mediation and collaborative practice have proven to be private processes that are often less stressful, less time-consuming, less expensive, and better for children because the focus remains on the future and moving forward instead of hashing out past details that tend to leave couples stymied and stuck.

In my experience, both models improve communication and therefore help you and your spouse keep control of your own divorce. These processes also promote respect and dignity, which can help everyone move forward in a productive and healing manner.

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