November 3, 2015

Are You Good Fit for Collaborativ Divorce: Part II

In the first article we looked at some situations that create a presumption that might disqualify collaborate practice as a preferred choice for a divorce. In this article we will consider the more common reality where collaborative law is a good choice of a model to use. In these cases there are many attributes of the parties that enhance the best possible results.

Despite the fact that all divorces address similar issues, individual parties bring a wide range of circumstances into the process. There are numerous substantive issues that can bring considerable complexity in order to resolve. Those variables are not the subject of this article.

What will be the focus are the personality dynamics the parties bring to the table. The ability of the parties to listen to each other and communicate effectively is often one of the casualties that bring the marriage to an end. Now those same skills become even more significant in finding a way to reach an effective agreement that works for each.
So, if there is emotional tension in the relationship the first beneficial steps that should be taken are to seek counseling to help each party function at a high level in the process. It helps to strike a balance between taking care of your own needs while being secure enough to recognize that the other party’s needs must also be met. Good therapists can be invaluable in this process.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I able to state my own interests, needs and concerns while considering the interests, needs and concerns of my spouse?
  2. Am I able to articulate reasonable goals – large goals for the process as well as specific personal goals for the outcome?
  3. Am I able to be flexible in my thinking? Can I listen to the guidance of the professionals we hire, and adjust to other points of view?
  4. Can I appreciate the need to hear and understand my spouse’s point of view, even if I don’t agree with it?
  5. Do I appreciate the need to find a solution that meets each party’s needs?
  6. Can I move beyond my emotions and let go of anger, blame or being a victim, and to acknowledge my own complicity?
  7. Am I able to keep our children at the center of the process without putting them in the middle?
  8. Am I able to accept the responsibility of showing up at meetings fully prepared and able to participate from my highest functioning self?
  9. Do I have the strength of character to honor my agreements and perform according to my word?
  10. Am I ready to accept that the marriage is over and participate in a process that can move both of us powerfully into the future?
  11. Am I willing to look at discernment counseling to re-visit the possibility of looking at the marriage before moving forward with the divorce?
  12. Am I willing to allow my spouse the opportunity to process what is happening and align with moving forward prior to starting the divorce, rather than having this occur as something that is happening to them?

Being honest about the answers to these questions is the first step in moving forward. It is appropriate to ask for time in the process to allow yourself the opportunity to become grounded, provided it is a reasonable request for a reasonable period of time to allow this transition to be made. Your attorney or the coach is the right person for this conversation.
Ask any collaborative professional for more information about how these concerns can best be addressed.

Bruce Peck

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at

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