If you are considering divorce, instead of thinking about it as undertaking a private war, try to view it as engaging in a joint venture! That is the difference between choosing traditional litigation and the Collaborative Divorce Process. Opting for Collaborative Divorce guarantees that you will maintain control over your divorce rather than having your choices made by a third unrelated party! If that sounds good to you, here are some steps you should take to help get your spouse onboard:
- Educate yourself. There are many online resources which provide information on the benefits of collaborative divorce. For example, The New York Association of Collaborative Professionals has a wealth of material on its website. Other useful websites include the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the New York Courts Collaborative Family Law Center and Collaborative Divorce Resolutions (CDR). Your research will help you understand the process as well as enable you to communicate more effectively with your spouse.
- Select your own collaborative attorney. Collaboratively trained attorneys are skilled professionals who have made a paradigm shift away from using traditional litigation in the divorce process. Working together with such a professional will help give you the knowledge and confidence to address collaborative divorce with your spouse. Your attorney will also help you assemble a collaborative team of financial and mental health experts.
- Engage your spouse in the selection process. This part of the process often involves an orientation initiative which may involve a joint meeting with other parts of the collaborative team such as a neutral family coach or financial professional or a separate meeting with another practicing collaborative attorney. These meetings will offer opportunities to listen to the different perspectives of these divorce professionals which provides a broad view of the process and will present the core principles of the process in a non-threatening manner.
Collaborative Divorce has many advantages over litigation including less time, money, and hostility. However, it is not right for everyone and you cannot force your spouse to agree. The best approach is to talk with an attorney about your options.
My goal as the Divorce Sherpa is to help couples avoid costly mistakes and guide them every step of the way on the path to their new post-divorce life. Contact me for a “divorce process” consultation.
For information on finding the right collaborative divorce attorney, read 5 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Collaborative Divorce Attorney.