“I’d like to resolve my divorce as quickly and inexpensively as possible, but my wife and I just can’t stop fighting. Is it still possible to use Collaborative Divorce?”
Yes. If the two of you can at least agree on using the collaborative process, and can commit yourselves to the process, you can still take advantage of it. You may find it beneficial in ways which go beyond speed and expense.
The key to entering the process will be the key to achieving success with it — you both must decide that achieving a result in your family’s best interests is more important to you than continuing to fight. This is not to discount the reasons for your fighting. Both of you may have good reasons to be angry with each other, and it is often difficult for parties to get past the emotions that are a normal part of divorce. However, Collaborative Divorce has at least two advantages which may make it the best choice for your divorce.
First, the collaborative team includes a “coach” for each party. The coach is a mental-health professional whose job is to help each party deal with emotional issues throughout the divorce and learn to communicate with the other in a way that does not exacerbate the normal emotional challenges in a divorce.
Second, the collaborative process is one in which the two of you must work together (along with the professionals) to come to an agreement as to how your divorce issues (custody, support, asset division) will be settled. You each will be forced to consider the other party’s needs and perspective. The nature of the collaborative process will require each of you to get past the anger and the arguing and to develop necessary skills to resolve your issues. These skills will continue to be useful to both of you in your inevitable future interactions.
John R. Denny is a family law attorney who practices Collaborative Divorce with Minyard Morris in Newport Beach, California.