In the best of circumstances, divorce is difficult. It is right near the top on the stress scale. But it doesn’t have to be a disaster. There are ways to keep the stress manageable and make the process aimiable. One of those ways is to enter into the Collaborative Divorce process.

When a couple gets divorced there is considerable hurt and anger. Sometimes one partner is more interested in the divorce than the other. Sometimes there are financial issues that may be difficult to resolve, and children who need to be cared for. Many details need to be negotiated which are accomplished in this process through exploring options in a fair and equitable manner.

In the Collaborative Divorce model, the couple is assisted through a team of trained professionals. Each partner is represented by an attorney and they also have the benefit of working with a Family Specialist who can help deal with children’s issues. The family specialist discusses the parenting plan, holiday and vacation schedule and addresses problems that arise with the children. S/he also functions as a divorce coach to help the partners deal with each other through the process. There is also a financial neutral who can help the couple with division of assets, and discuss tax consequences of various options so they can make the best possible choices for their family moving forward.

The most important factor of this process is that the couple work together with their team to achieve the results they want. Particularly, if there are children involved, it is important to work towards a positive co-parenting relationship so the children can be happy and healthy and the parents can share in events together as the children grow up. Even if a couple divorces, they are parents forever.

We all hear terrible stories about nasty divorces. The collaborative approach is one where we can remind people that they once cared about their partner, and sometimes still do, but can no longer live together. The divorce does not have to be nasty. The goal is to arrive at a fair and equitable agreement where both partners can respect one another after they leave the marriage and not feel like they hate their ex. This will help both partners to move on in a positive way.

If both partners move on in a positive way, everyone will be happier. If either or both re-couple, hopefully they can accept that there will be more people to love the children. If the partners stay stuck in anger, their lives will be negatively impacted. We all have choices to make and as divorce is a crossroads, the method one chooses to get divorced is very important. If you are seeking a divorce, think collaborative!