Monday, July 1, 2013

Do You Want a Civilized Divorce?

Unfortunately, most divorces are somewhat acrimonious.  It's a rare divorce where the parties are rational and cooperative with each other.  There are many reasons for that and it's hard to change someone's attitude when they are starting a divorce.

Collaborative Law offers the choice of having a civilized divorce where the parties can be around each other and be treated respectfully.    In addition, the parties listen to each other's concerns and try to resolve matters by working together.  Most people can switch to that mode of cooperation, but it takes a certain framework and a team of trained professionals.

Why do some people not want to try to have a civilized divorce?  Here are some reasons.

1.  Some people are extremely self-centered.  They focus on themselves and don't try to consider what their children or spouse might want or need.  These people just can't understand or appreciate someone else's point of view.

2.  Some people are very angry.  Often, they are out to "win" and are willing to do whatever it takes to win. They don't care about damage to relationships (or they blame the collateral damage from the divorce on their spouse, and take no responsibility for themselves).  In their mind, they have been wronged and they want revenge, and a win.  There's no appeasing them.

3.  Short-term thinking is another problem.  Some people don't think ahead, even a short distance.  They are only concerned with the very immediate future and don't plan ahead or worry about how things will be later.

On the other hand, I like to think there are some pretty compelling reasons to try to be civilized, act rationally and to try to preserve relationships.  Consider these points:

1.  Would you like to be able to attend weddings and holiday events in the future and be comfortable with everyone there?  That seems like an attractive possibility.  It's much better than the alternative of a stressful and uncomfortable time seeing old "enemies".  It's much better to remain friends.

2.  Would you like a less-stressful process for divorce?  We can't eliminate all stress from divorce, but we can make it much easier for everyone to coexist and to treat each other respectfully.  We can make it much less horrible if you use the Collaborative process.

3.  Would you like to avoid the excessive costs of a battling divorce?  Working together through the Collaborative process will help you by allowing you use a single, neutral expert rather than both sides hiring separate experts.  You can also save money by not using the strategy of repeatedly attacking the other side in an effort to wear them down so they will give in to your unreasonable demands.  Instead of all that, Collaborative Law has you focusing on what's important for each party and working together to achieve those goals.  You don't waste time and money on extraneous battles fought for strategic reasons which don't really make resolution any more likely.

If you're not too self-centered or angry or hooked on short-term thinking, you should consider using Collaborative Law if you get involved in a divorce.  Consult with a trained Collaborative lawyer to decide if Collaborative would be a good fit for you.  Good luck!