Divorce Respectfully, Privately, and Creatively
Do you respect your spouse? Do you feel they respect you? Can you remember when you did?
Traditional adversarial divorce focuses on convincing a court that you deserve more of the fruits of your marriage than your spouse deserves, whether these fruits are –
Assets you’ve acquired
Income that will be earned
Hours with your children after you are divorced
Traditional divorce discourages you from remembering what you first loved about your spouse or why you married them. It actually encourages you to vilify, devalue, and dehumanize them.
Non-adversarial divorce, on the other hand, values and fosters respectful relationships in numerous ways –
- You, your spouse, and the professionals work as a team toward a common goal – a practical and satisfactory post-divorce financial arrangement and parenting plan.
- We learn about and explore each spouse’s goals, needs, and concerns.
- The professionals model respectful communications and relationships for you and your husband or wife.
- The professionals assist the divorcing couple to recognize that respect for themselves and each other is essential to the well-being of their children.
Here is what some of my clients have said about their divorce experience –
“My case was handled with respect, dignity, and compassion. We were treated like people, not a case. Our feelings were heard, acknowledged, and accommodated.”
“Genuine concern and respect for each party was clearly felt.”
“Dignity and respect. Even though the process was very painful, this was a nice way to go through it. I feel I can have a decent relationship with my ex.”
Maybe you can’t rebuild the love you once had in your relationship. Maybe you can’t even be friends. But you can choose to move forward with your life in a respectful, dignified, and positive manner.
Choose non-adversarial divorce.
Are you well-known in your community?
Is preserving your professional reputation or confidentiality of your business practices a priority?
Is it important for your kid’s sake to keep your family’s private life private?
Might the anxiety and embarrassment of a public divorce push you, your spouse or children over the edge?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on.
TRADITIONAL ADVERSARIAL DIVORCE IS PUBLIC
The courthouse is a crowded public place. Your boss or child’s soccer coach may be sitting behind you in the courtroom.
Transcripts and records from your court case are available indefinitely to your children, parents, friends, enemies, employers and employees.
In traditional divorce, often the purpose of fact gathering is to gain a strategic advantage over your spouse, often at any cost. Fact gathering is typically unnecessarily broad and inefficient, coercive, and something one spouse does to the other.
Information and documents are typically obtained through court sanctioned procedures like subpoenas and depositions, sometimes in a courtroom, and often with a written transcript being made.
Parenting and financial experts are either appointed by the court or hired by one spouse for the purpose of evaluating, judging, and reporting to judges and other court officials – not helping you or your spouse create a better settlement or be better parents.
Your children may be interviewed by a variety of professionals whose job may be to write a report that becomes part of the court file or worse, is disclosed in a hearing at the courthouse.
Settlement negotiations typically take place in your absence. These often occur in the courthouse hallway, a judge’s chambers, or through a series of written demands prepared by the lawyers and sometimes filed with the court.
You may be required to attend many public hearings and meetings at the courthouse but barely permitted to speak.
Your court file may contain pages and pages of untrue allegations made by your spouse to hurt, humiliate, or embarrass you as well as reports by court appointed experts or others hired by your spouse.
Is this what you want?
MEDIATION AND COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ARE PRIVATE
The work takes place in meetings with your spouse and your professional team. In non-adversarial divorce –
- The purpose of fact gathering is to enable the divorcing couple to create effective post-divorce financial arrangements and parenting plans.
- Fact fathering is a focused, voluntary, and the joint effort of spouses and their professional team. Information and documents are exchanged in a private confidential setting, typically at the office of one of the professionals.
- Professionals can provide private education and guidance to the couple, together or separately.
- Settlement negotiations take place in a private setting, typically at the offices of one of the professionals. You and your spouse are present and participate.
- None of the professionals will participate in litigation or use what you told them against you in the courtroom – no matter what.
- The divorcing couple typically attends court only once – when the parenting and financial agreements created in mediation or collaboration are approved by the court.
- There’s not much in your court file – which is a good thing.
Control how personal, sensitive, and valuable family and business information is handled in your divorce. Choose divorce mediation or collaborative divorce.
Even the most experienced and well-meaning judges are limited by the law and the adversarial court process from making parenting and financial orders which maximize benefits and minimize harm to a divorcing family. So why would you want to leave your future and your children’s futures to judges? Wouldn’t you want your settlement to be a smart one that still works six months, five years or fifteen years after you’ve divorced?
In mediation and collaborative cases, at most, what a court might order at trial constitutes just one factor for you and your spouse to weigh in reaching your post-divorce parenting plans and financial arrangements. You aren’t limited to considering what a court is permitted to or might consider important.
Mediated and collaborative settlements are typically better suited for the particular family involved since a) the solutions are created by the spouses for their own family, b) the spouses are not hampered by the same restraints applicable to judges, c) the settlement can reflect what is important to you and your spouse, not just what the State of Connecticut thinks should be important, and d) you can get input and help from trusted family advisors such as your accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent, and pediatrician.
Create the financial arrangement and parenting plans that fit your family’s unique needs and goals and allow you all to move forward with your lives. With the right professional support, your decisions will be far better than those the court will make for you if you choose to leave your life and the lives of your children in the hands of strangers.