No divorce process relies on Professionals like collaborative divorce. An approach that has been gaining traction in recent years, collaborative divorce is a fact-based method focusing on finding a workable future framework for former spouses and their children.
Collaborative divorce Professionals have been contributing to fair and just marriage conflict resolutions since day one. Their Professional insights have accumulated through the years, creating a treasure trove of wisdom in divorce-related matters.
This blog post will emphasize the significance of a collaborative Professional team and offer valuable insights from some of the most accomplished professionals in the field. Ready to dive in? Read on to learn more!
Collaborative Divorce in a Nutshell
Collaborative divorce is the only conflict resolution process where disputed parties are not opposed to each other, digging into the past and searching for the culprit. Instead, divorcing couples are future-oriented, working with their respective attorneys to find mutually acceptable solutions without assigning guilt. That scenario is, of course, possible only in an out-of-court setting. The primary goal is settling the dispute and meeting the needs and interests of everyone involved, especially the children. In achieving that goal, parties and their attorneys count on Professionals’ help – a cornerstone of all collaborative efforts.
The Collaborative Team: Synergy in Action
The collaborative team is central to the collaborative divorce process. Unified in purpose, the Professional team decisively determines the outcome of what would otherwise turn into an emotionally charged, financially messy, and adversarial undertaking. In addition to the divorcing spouses and their collaborative lawyers, the team consists of a neutral financial professional, mental health professional, family law Professional, family therapist, and child specialist.
Each Professional contributes uniquely to the overall goal, offering knowledge, experience, and insights from their respective fields. The financial professional helps parties understand the importance of financial disclosure and the economic aspects of the divorce. The mental health professional facilitates communication between the spouses and helps them cope with intense emotions. Family law Professionals ensure negotiations stay within the legal frame and offer insights into the case law in similar situations. Finally, family therapists and child specialists monitor and protect the children’s psychological integrity, ensuring they (and their parents) come out of the collaborative journey emotionally unharmed and ready for the post-divorce future.
Unveiling Unity: Professional Perspectives on Collaborative Divorce
A comprehensive understanding of collaborative divorce is impossible without tapping into the collective wisdom of the Professionals who shaped the process throughout the decades behind us. Here are how professionals from various fields see the collaborative divorce process, its meaning, and purpose.
- Fostering Open Communication
In family therapists’ view, open communication is the essence of collaborative efforts. The Professional’s role in fostering open communication is at the heart of collaboration. Parties who engage in sincere talks can express their concerns, aspirations, needs, and interests without fear of retribution. Unlike litigation, where openness comes with a risk of losing the case, expressing your thoughts, emotions, and needs leads to more satisfactory outcomes in collaborative divorce.
- Practicing Conflict Resolution Techniques
Mental health specialists emphasize the importance of practicing conflict resolution techniques and strategies by insisting on parties’ engagement in active listening, compassion, and reframing. Managing disagreements effectively requires both sides to listen to each other with interest and empathy. Putting yourself in another spouse’s shoes is sometimes all it takes to overcome misunderstanding. That is strongly associated with reframing – a cognitive therapy technique that encourages identifying with the other person and changing how you view and experience the situation. Mental health Professionals ensure that parties regularly practice these tools.
- Encouraging Conflict De-escalation
Collaborative divorce involves couples who maintain workable relationships and engage in constructive communication. Despite that, conflicts can occur and escalate, rendering the collaborative efforts ineffective. Mental health Professionals help in such situations by introducing de-escalation techniques, managing high-conflict scenarios, and preserving an amicable atmosphere during negotiations.
- Prioritizing the Interests of Children
Family law Professionals and child specialists stress the importance of prioritizing the interests of children during a challenging period. Despite being cooperative, non-adversarial, and amicable, collaborative divorce still impacts the children. They see their parents undergoing a process that results in a different post-divorce reality. Things will not be like before. Professionals’ role is to minimize the emotional impact of divorce on children. They do that by creating a friendly and peaceful environment for negotiations and preparing the spouses for effective co-parenting in the future. The goal is to help parents establish a sense of stability, security, and trust. As a result, the children will step into the new reality confidently, knowing their parents have their best interests in mind no matter what.
- Empowering Both Parties
Collaborative divorce attorneys, mental health Professionals, and family therapists highlight one of the vital aspects of the collaborative process – empowering the parties. In contrast to litigation, where parties compete for supremacy and where one of them always ends as a loser – collaborative divorce empowers both parties. Instead of depending on the outside decision-making centers, parties control the outcome in collaborative law. They are behind the steering wheel, directing the destination and the speed of the process.
- Managing Expectations
Most collaborative Professionals agree on the importance of managing expectations. To prevent parties from experiencing potential frustration and disappointment – Professionals help them see the objective reality and understand the process, inherent challenges, and possible outcomes. It is a joint effort in which Professionals from various fields provide spouses with quality inputs, ensuring they stay within what is possible and achievable.
- Cost-Effectiveness and Efficiency
Cost-effectiveness and efficiency are well-known benefits of collaborative divorce. Financial Professionals underscore the financial aspects of the process, describing how it allows couples to allocate resources to what matters most to them instead of paying hefty court and attorney fees. On the other hand, collaborative law is unmatched in financial disclosures because it combines informal exchanges and financial affidavits, resulting in a comprehensive and transparent fact-finding effort.
- Preserving Relationships
Marriage and family therapists focus on preserving the relationships between the divorcing couple and laying the foundations for productive co-parenting after the divorce. Contrary to the court process, where the judge and a jury focus on resolving the dispute without regard for the couple’s future – collaborative attorneys and Professionals see things differently. For them, the process is all about ensuring a happy and fulfilling future for spouses and their children despite the divorce. To achieve that, they help parties maintain respect and mutual understanding throughout the process.
- Focusing on Long-Term Planning
In addition to ensuring effective co-parenting, collaborative Professionals work to create an acceptable and desirable future for each party. In other words, co-parenting and family relationships are crucial, but Professionals help both parties create separate worlds for themselves. To enable former spouses to continue living fulfilling lives as singles, Professionals encourage them to develop long-term planning and forward-thinking.
- Collaborative Professionals’ joint effort is at the heart of the process that encourages cooperation, forward-thinking, and long-term perspective.
- The collaborative team is a cornerstone of the process, consisting of neutral financial professionals, mental health professionals, family law Professionals, family therapists, and child specialists.
- Based on Professionals’ insights, the underlying principles of the collaborative process are as follows: fostering open communication, practicing conflict resolution techniques, encouraging conflict de-escalation, prioritizing the interests of children, empowering both parties, managing expectations, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency, preserving relationships, and focusing on long-term planning.
Putting it All Together
The collaborative divorce process focuses on mutual respect and understanding, offering a holistic and non-adversarial approach to marriage dissolution.
However, working with Professionals from various fields can seem overwhelming and confusing. You need a collaborative attorney to put all their knowledge together and assist you in navigating the fact-finding and conflict-resolution process.
Anna P. Krolikowska, a distinguished member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, is the collaborative attorney you seek.
With a comprehensive understanding of the collaborative legal, financial, psychological, and emotional aspects, she will lead you through the dispute resolution journey, helping you make informed decisions about the path forward for you and your children.