Improves communications: In a Collaborative Divorce, the parties have the opportunity to practice communications in a safe environment. Usually, the trained Collaborative attorneys can keep a conversation under control and prevent the kind of explosive anger that can occur outside the Collaborative setting. As meetings progress, the parties learn how to communicate and listen better. By the end, the parties are often communicating more effectively than they have in years.
Sets a good example for children: Children of all ages have some idea of what their parents are going through. The young sense the tension in the environment, and the older children may know the details of particular issues in dispute. Many have heard horror stories from friends’ parents’ divorces. Younger children of Collaborative Divorce will understand that their parents had a “friendly” divorce, while the older children may know that their parents used a different forum to resolve difficult issues with open and respectful dialogue rather than fighting and court battles. The lessons of collaboration help children of all ages to resolve conflicts in their own lives.
Creative solutions unavailable through traditional litigation: In the context of the Collaborative meetings, parties and their attorneys have the opportunity to learn about each other’s needs and wants directly. This face-to-face interaction invites exploration that can get behind a party’s position. For example, a spouse’s insistence that they “get the house” can lead to a discussion about the reason the spouse has taken that position. If it’s because the house is in a nice neighborhood near good schools, an alternative might be suggested, such as finding a smaller home in an equally nice neighborhood near another good school. Understanding motives can be a great way to find solutions.
Communications unfiltered by attorneys: At a Collaborative meeting, hearing something directly from the horse’s mouth is much more convincing than hearing it from the horse’s lawyer. In addition, direct communication reduces bluffing, replacing negotiating positions and use of scare tactics with honest and productive brainstorming and problem solving.
Master of your destiny: Working collaboratively with your spouse, you control the outcome. In a Collaborative Divorce, the parties are more likely to achieve a solution that is tailored to the parties’ unique circumstances. By playing a more active role in arriving at solutions, the parties have ownership of the outcome. The more ownership and control the parties have over the final settlement agreement, the less likely it is that they will be back to court for violation, contempt, and modification.
No winning or losing: If you’re the type of person who needs to win, Collaborative Divorce may not be for you. Rarely will the parties to a Collaborative Divorce come away feeling as if they’ve won or lost. Participants are more likely to leave the process feeling relieved that they were able to reach a fair agreement that will leave each of them secure in their future. If you don’t have the need to win, and you don’t mind if your spouse doesn’t lose, then Collaborative Divorce may be for you.
About the Blogger:
Steven Mogul is a partner with the Bangor law firm Gross, Minsky & Mogul, P.A. His practice consists primarily of representing injured individuals and parties involved in divorce and parental rights matters. Steven has been engaged in Collaborative Divorce since 2011 and has enjoyed the benefits it brings to him and his clients. In addition to his legal practice, Steven currently serves as Vice President of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and as 2nd Vice President of the Maine Lakes Society. www.GrossMinsky.com