Why not Collaborate on Divorce?


Telling divorcing couples that they should collaborate during the divorce process is kind of like telling a dieting person that they can go to Krispy Kreme as long as they don't order from the menu. Indeed, it is the rare couple who can sit down together and talk calmly and rationally about the demise of their relationship. Yet all over the country, workshops are being held to help couples find this gentle middle ground when it comes to handling their divorce. Therapists, lawyers and accounts are attending collaborative divorce workshops in order to learn how they might better help couples.

So just what is collaborative divorce, anyway? The goal of collaborative divorce is simple -- more civil behavior, less emotional drama. Mental health professionals, financial experts and attorneys for the couple join forces as peacemakers armed with knowledge and resources to help divorcing pairs construct a solution. What separates collaborative proceedings from mediation is that mediation often is ordered in the litigation process while the collaborative process, as the name suggests, is initiated by the couple. The most enticing prospect of collaborative divorce is that the process aims to take a higher ground that doesn't involve lengthy courtroom visits. Overall, the process tends to be less expensive than a traditional divorce, but the true benefits of collaborative divorce have nothing to do with money.

Advocates for the couple address all of the issues involved in a divorce. From who gets what to child custody to the emotional impact of the break-up, no stone is left unturned and the professionals are committed to keeping the process humane and adult. Therapists applaud the collaborative divorce process as they note that a divorce settled out of court is better for the emotional well-being of the couple and their children. Mental health professional also are quick to point out that a traditional divorce does not address the emotional loss while the collaborative process does.

Still, divorce is never easy. Accountants who work on collaborative divorces note that the financial aspects of the proceedings are always the most difficult to iron out. Other couples have found the process frustrating and costly as they wind up going to court to fix the problems not addressed in collaboration. These pains aside, many agree that collaborative divorce could be a big aid for couples already going through a difficult time and that it is well worth the effort.