collaborative divorce and children

Divorces are never easy, and truth be told, the lawyer you choose might set the tone of how your Divorce progresses (and pretty much the rest of your life, if you are not careful). 

Shocked? Me too! So let me explain.

There seems to be a general view that a divorce must be an anxiety-riddled event, full of dread, ill will, and bickering, and some attorney will make this a reality. So beware when you choose your attorney! Those who advertise themselves as “fighters” or other terms that I instead not put in writing, you are setting the groundwork to go into this direction. But did you ever consider what this would mean long-term for your family? Do you want to create animosity between you and your future spouse? Do you want your children to live in a world with hostility all around them? A world you entirely created by the type of Divorce you set in motion?

When we talk to our children that we need to be respectful, polite, and “of good character.” Don’t you think we as parents need to lead by example? Hitting a rough patch is not an excuse to misbehave; it is an opportunity to show our backbone and practice what we teach.

Collaborative Divorce is one of the ways you can show, not just your kids, but other people around you, that there is a way to work through the tough patches in life with dignity and grace. A collaborative lawyer will help you create a near painless divorce by helping you come to the negotiating process with a positive and results-oriented way.

Why should you care about coming to an amicable agreement with your soon to be ex? The first and foremost should be that your children will not pay the price of growing up in a “broken” home. The stress and worry put on children during a divorce cannot be forgotten. Divorces have historically been blamed for having “ruined” the lives of many children. Research also shows that children growing up in families where parents divorced and continued to fight taught that fighting is normal, and that bad relationships are unavoidable. Fights over visitation, clothes, extra-curricular activities, even on birthdays, weddings and baby showers, are not healthy. This type of behavior should not be the norm. We, as parents, should be able to talk about our differences, no matter how complicated or sensitive the details might seem at that moment. It is our job to come to a resolution that will work not just because of “We-say-so” but because it is the best for our children.

A Collaborative Divorce only works under the right circumstances. There are specific rules, agreements, and a particular set of expectations that come with the Collaborative Process. If either spouse becomes antagonistic, refuses to work together, or shows that they cannot come to the negotiating table in a productive manner, the lawyers must recuse themselves. At this point, lawyers who handle what we think of traditional Divorce must take over.

A stalemate like this should be a wake-up call, and it will test couples on what they believe and what they stand for.

Good faith is the basis for a successful collaborative divorce. It determines not only your future as a divorced couple, but it will also impact your children, their future choices, and inevitably their future. It is true; Divorce is painful. The long term effects that come with the hatred that grew during a divorce are not negligible. Not knowing how to communicate with the other spouse (or rather future co-parent), not listening, being judgmental or just feeling the need to argue, is not going to help one bit.

The Collaborative Process gives each party a chance to a better future. It teaches people to listen more than they argue and offers an opportunity to both parties to explain themselves about what they feel. It allows them to express what they need and why they see things a certain way. A Collaborative Divorce is about creating a safe setting, a place without judgment.

The Collaborative Divorce process is created to help people sort things out reasonably and equitably while addressing the individual needs of the soon to be divorced couple. It also offers other resources that will help keep the process moving forward, ensuring 100% transparency, and using neutral professionals such as therapists and accountants that can help productively guide the process.

If you are looking into getting a divorce, Collaborative Divorce is an excellent option to consider. If you have children, it should be the first option you consider. A Collaborative approach takes much of the anger and adversarial feelings out of the divorce process. It motivates both parties to work towards the same goals and create long term solutions. It also allows each person to be heard and understood in a way they may not have been with traditional Divorce. Many couples who have gone this route have been very grateful that they made this decision. It made a complicated and challenging process as amenable as possible. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce lets each person walk away with some dignity and respect for themselves, their ex-partner. 

Collaborative Divorce helps people become better co-parents — all allowing them to raise their children in a more empowering environment, teaching them how to create long term solutions, even in difficult circumstances.

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