It seems like everywhere we look, we are being told that there is a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something. For instance, stories about divorce are more available than ever.
We read about dramatic celebrity divorces ending in multi-million dollar settlements, the quiet, amicable divorce of two strangers who took a picture that went viral and everything in between. And for every story on someone’s divorce, it can seem like there’s also someone telling us that’s either the right way or wrong way to divorce. But is there such a thing as the right way to divorce?
The answer to this question is yes. There can be a right way to divorce, but what the right way is means different things to different people.
For some people, the right way to divorce is one where they remain amicable and peaceful, particularly if there are children involved, and the parents are able to reach agreements between themselves on how to parent their children.
Other couples would consider a divorce that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to be right for them. Those couples would likely be interested in self-help services or using the services of a mediator to work out agreements without going to court.
In situations where divorcing spouses are particularly contentious or there is a lot of money or property at stake, it might be right for them to take the case to court (“litigate”) where decisions on legal matters are left to a judge to make. This is by far the most expensive option a couple may choose and most likely lead to more litigation in the future and even greater estrangement among the family and extended family.
Fortunately, today couples who have great animosity have the availability of a collaborative divorce. This process offers support and guiding to each party to help them reach a mutually acceptable agreement. An agreement that was not forced upon them – but understood and agreed to between the parties.
Collaborative divorce is a team approach to helping a couple resolve their disputes. Each party has an attorney and a divorce coach. The divorce coach’s role is to help the couple reduce the anger, deal with the emotional issues and to make sure everyone is heard. The attorneys help guide the process in a non-adversarial manner.
Other team members include a financial specialist who collects and analyzes the financials and a child specialist (if there are children) who helps represent the children interests.
An important part of the collaborative process is that everyone commits solely to helping resolve their problems and disputes and is hired solely for that purpose. None of the team members have a hidden agenda of escalating the disputes because they are only hired to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement and the attorneys will not take the couple to court.
Contact information is below to select an attorney to discuss finding the approach that works best for your specific situation
By Hal Bartholomew, attorney – Sacramento, CA.
Collaborative Divorce – a new process in which a divorcing couple, together with trained professionals, work as a team to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court.