By Kim M. Ciesinski, Esq., PLLC
Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of a person's life, impacting every member of the family. We are thankful for this guest submission that talks about the author's professional passion for helping people find a better way to part company.
This is the happiest time of the year and ironically one of the times that people are most likely to get divorced. Troubled couples often hope that the holidays will make everything better, and then ultimately when it doesn’t, it’s time to make a change.
Life is full of changes. Some of them voluntary, some- not so much. So, here you find yourself…the decision to divorce has been made either by you, for you or together which is the best-case scenario. We have all heard horrendous war stories, we all know people who have experienced this nightmare or about to… breathe! You have options. And it’s called Collaborative Divorce. The fact that most people have never heard of this method of divorce is one reason we have generations of families who witness the unhealthy, adversarial litigation and very often continue this cycle in their own lives.
Most people have heard of mediation, however, with a mediator, there can be no legal advice and the lawyer who is mediating cannot advocate for either party. Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process that couples enter into with a signed participation agreement that they are agreeing not to litigate. Couples enter into the Collaborative process thereby eliminating the threat of Court and committing to align their interests to work out the structure of their family, finances, property and any other assets they have created during their marriage.
The Collaborative divorce process provides support for the couple so they take the lead in decision making, through respectful communication, with the assistance of the appropriate professionals, in a private, pressure free setting. The team of professionals include an attorney for each spouse, a mental health professional and a financial advisor.
In the context of Collaborative divorce, the couple commit to finding a mutually beneficial solution as their highest priorities. The concepts of “winning or revenge” and “retribution” have no place in the collaborative process. The hope of having a positive future co-parenting (if relevant) is often a primary motivation for entering this process. This results in the creation of a new bi-nuclear family built upon a foundation of respect, incorporating a creative and realistic distribution of assets and a new way to live apart and divorced in harmony.
When couples who are getting divorced, find solutions that serve both parties, healing begins, successful co-parenting takes place and children can grow up to be emotionally secure and healthy adults. Families benefit from the collaborative process, and engaging in a communicative and understanding process sometimes results in healthy reconciliation. Society as a whole reaps the benefits of this process, because people can divorce with dignity and respect, children learn how to have difficult conversations with positive outcomes and the process makes us whole, individually and as a family.
Collaborative Divorce needs to be the new norm and most people have never heard of it. Please help us and tell everyone you know who may be getting divorced, about this option. The only option that will help to sustain the nuclear families of the future. For more information, please visit us at adrlawny.com.