Collaborative divorce has been referred to as a kinder and gentler way to untie the knot. And that is true. Collaborative practice offers divorcing couples the opportunity to divorce without the uncertainties that often accompany the adversarial process. It often costs less, reduces bitterness, and ends in a mutual agreement more quickly. But that is not to say that divorce isn’t still going to be hard. Any way you spell it, ending your marriage is still going to be painful.
A Grieving Process
The majority of people who go through divorce experience a grief much like that of a death in the family. In fact, divorce is considered one of the most stressful events in one’s life second only to death of a spouse or child. You will likely experience one or more of the five stages of grief which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 1
Telling The Children
Regardless of how amicable you and your spouse are, telling the children is going to be difficult. You can expect there may be sadness and possibly anger as well as feelings of guilt. The benefit of the collaborative process is that the children will see their parents working together for the best interest of the family instead of fighting which only creates more problems and lasting emotional scars.
Impact on Extended Family
As friendly as your divorce may be, it may also impact your common circle of friends and extended family. Some will naturally feel the need to take sides. Fortunately, couples who are committed to the collaborative process are less likely to feel compelled to put extended family or friends in the middle.
The Good News
Let’s face it, your divorce will be painful. The good news is that the collaborative process can make it a little easier and reduce the long-term negative impact of adversarial divorce litigation. Anyone interested in learning more should spend some time learning about the differences between divorce litigation and the collaborative process. In addition, it is advisable to make an appointment with a collaborative professional who can review your particular circumstances and advise if the collaborative process might be right for you.