There is no question that divorce is one of the scariest experiences couples go through. As an attorney who has been part of this life experience for hundreds of clients, I have witnessed how their first step in the process can make a substantial difference in the ultimate outcome. When the divorce journey begins, the parties must decide whether to choose the traditional route of going to court; or agree on an alternative method of dispute resolution – that is, mediation or collaborative divorce. This choice will set the tone for the process and play a major part in how satisfied parties are with the settlement and how effectively they move forward and start a new life.
The choice between litigation and mediation or collaborative divorce often turns on whether the parties are driven by negative or positive attitudes. Parties who decide on litigation often view the divorce as a battle with a winner and loser. They often express ideas like: “He can’t end up with X because he did Y.” Or “I am entitled to X because I did all the Y. “These negative attitudes drive the process and create a toxic experience. As a result, the parties argue constantly, the divorce is prolonged, and ultimately the parties’ resolutions are the result of financial exhaustion, which means neither party is really satisfied with the result.
No one wants to have to go through a divorce but sometimes it’s necessary. However, when parties can’t get beyond their anger or other negative emotions, they make it that much harder on themselves emotionally and financially during and after the divorce. For parents, the effects are even worse because of the psychological damage that is done to their children.
When couples can focus on positive attitudes, the process and result are very different. For example, when the Collaborative Process is chosen, a team of legal, financial and mental health professionals work with the parties to explicitly identify their positive interests with a focus to the future. Instead of the parties having the goal of “winning” or “punishment,” the goals are to provide for the future economic security of each of the parties, maintain a new type of family harmony, and achieve a peaceful acceptance of the failed marriage.
A positive approach means a divorce journey that is less painful, saves you time and money, helps you heal faster and enables you to take the next step in your life.
What path will you take in your divorce journey? Before you decide, be sure to get professional help.
Contact me for a “divorce process” consultation.