Do you have friends in the process of a divorce who are fighting over everything, including your friendship? Have you heard the nightmare story from your relative about battling his spouse during a child exchange? Do you cringe when you hear about your friend’s uncomfortable experience during her divorce Trial?
I imagine you can answer yes to at least one of the questions above and you are likely saying to yourself – that will never be me. Unfortunately, however, statistics show that in Missouri, for example, there are 3.9 divorces for every 1,000 people and about one-half (51%) of all divorces in Missouri involve children. What this means is that one day, you may find yourself sitting at the kitchen table have the divorce talk with your spouse. If this happens to you, divorce is now imminent. How do you make sure that your family dynamic does not rip apart at the seam? The divorce process is known to destroy the family dynamic through mudslinging, positional bargaining, and refusal to compromise with each other.
The divorce process begins with the other party being served a summons from the Court. It seems odd and, quite frankly, distasteful to have a random, unknown third-party hand your spouse papers stating that you want to end the life you built together. Moving forward to the Discovery process, you will find yourself answering meddlesome, probing questions, producing private documents, and feeling interrogated during depositions. During Trial, you may likely feel nervous, scared, and hesitant to answer questions on the witness stand. At the conclusion of the case, you will anxiously await a Judgment entered by an individual who doesn’t know anything about your family. The end result will generally leave both parties feeling violated, sad, and angry.
Litigated Divorce Alternative
If the Court litigated divorce process described above sounds terrifying and stressful – you are not alone.
A process known as a Collaborative Divorce is available to anyone who will like to bypass the typical contentious litigated divorce and, instead, aim to reach an amicable and practical settlement agreement. To get started, both parties must have a desire to use this process. Both parties must agree to compromise, act ethically, show respect for one another, focus on the future, negotiate in good faith, and, among other things, cooperate to prepare a comprehensive settlement agreement.
If successful, the benefits of the Collaborative Divorce process will allow each party to make choices in a safe and private environment that will work best for your family because after all, you are the expert of your family, not the professionals. At the conclusion, you should find yourself feeling satisfied, ready to move forward, and maintain a desire to co-parent, cooperate, and continue the family dynamic for the sake of your children. In spite of everything, it really is about your family and how you can move forward. With the tools and ability to co-parent, minor issues that come up as time goes on may be settled through the family without having to involve the court for modifications to the Judgment. Choosing a Collaborative Divorce will not only help you bypass the often nasty, litigated divorce process, but it will also help alleviate many of the future issues that may arise years after a divorce has concluded.
Take Control of Your Divorce
A Collaborative Divorce puts both parties in the driver seat of their own divorce. It puts the decisions for the family back in the hands of the family, with tools and assistance from coaches and advisors to not just help make decisions now, but also help with the difficult decisions to come.