Collaborative Practice can be a better solution for divorce and post-divorce issues and is based upon respect and honesty. A collaborative divorce is grounded on four main principles:
Respect by and for each spouse
An honest exchange of information
Consideration for the highest priorities of the adults and children
A pledge not to go to court
In a collaborative divorce, a team of attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial advisers work with you and your spouse to obtain and set out the necessary factual information about your financial situation, to coach you and your spouse through the emotional roller coaster of a divorce, and to help both parties look at and understand the needs of the other and of their children.
With each party pledging to be open, honest, and respectful of the other party, and with the help of professionals to guide you along the way, you are empowered to craft an agreement which is the most beneficial for your family. In a traditional divorce, you and your spouse often become adversaries, and your family and your family’’s finances the battleground. The resulting turmoil can take an immense emotional and financial toll on both parties and your children. Judges become the single person empowered to make decisions regarding your and your family’’s future. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse maintain that power for yourselves. Often, you can preserve more of your family’’s cohesiveness, wealth, and peaceful future in a collaborative divorce.
A major point of the collaborative method is that if the collaborative divorce process breaks down, and one or both parties just cannot continue without going to court, then the attorneys and other professionals who have been working with you cannot continue. Each party must obtain a new attorney and other advisers, and essentially start the process over again. This is an important incentive for both parties to work harder to collaborate.
Cynthia Swanson is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and of the Gainesville Collaborative Divorce Team. For more information about collaborative practice, go to: http://www.collaborativepractice.com/default.asp?M=1