The ability to make decisions on a large number of big and small issues throughout the divorce process is an indispensable aspect of a successful collaborative divorce. By choosing to use the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse mutually agree that you will work out the settlement terms in your divorce outside of court, although a judge will need to approve your proposed settlement terms before they are finalized. Along the way, you both will be asked to make decisions. Some of the decisions are relatively small, such as who the children will be with on certain three-day weekends or how you will rotate holidays. Other decisions can feel much bigger, such as who will keep the shared home or whether it will be sold after the divorce is final, or how retirement savings will be transferred from one spouse to the other.
Big decisions can feel intimidating, and oftentimes, differing perspectives emerge. In a collaborative divorce, you will never be left to make these important decisions alone. At the core of the collaborative divorce approach is the belief that divorce is a life event that includes legal, emotional, and financial elements. As a result, you and your partner will work with trained professionals all the way through the case, educating and advising you from all of three of these perspectives before you are ever asked to make any large, life-changing decision. Keeping a clear and honest line of communication with your collaborative team can help ensure that the decisions you make will be the ones that best serve you and your family.
This teamwork approach is vital to the process, but after all of the information has been disclosed and discussed and all of the various settlement options fully explored, you and your former spouse will ultimately be asked to decide what settlement terms work best. If you can not come to an agreement outside of court, it may be necessary to use a more traditional form of divorce. Having to turn to a more combative approach after agreeing to work together can feel disappointing, but ultimately doing the best thing for your unique situation is always the most important decision you can make, even if it differs from your original plans.
By staying honest with your needs and committing to open communication with your former partner and collaborative divorce team, you can ensure that you are doing the best thing for yourself and your family. Divorce isn’t going to be easy, but by committing to work together through whatever may come, you can ease the stress that is oftentimes associated with such a big life transition.