When choosing mediative Collaboration, the divorcing couple as well as the entire Collaborative team, including the two attorneys and the financial and family mediators, agree at the outset not go to Court. They agree instead to make every effort to negotiate respectfully and transparently to reach peaceful divorce resolutions. Participation agreements to this effect are signed at the initial group meeting when the team reviews the mediative Collaboration process, answers any process questions the divorcing couple may still have and schedules all of the meetings they expect they will need. The initial group meeting is usually contributed to the divorcing couple at no-cost.
In divorce mediative Collaboration,
- a divorce family mediator helps identify your common goals and interests and clarifies and articulates the your co-parenting goals and values to create a co-parenting plan that’s in their and their children’s best interest and to support the future well-being of the family after the divorce as the children grow and their needs change.
- a divorce financial mediator facilitates the required identification, documentation, disclosure, characterization, valuation, tax-effecting and preferred division of your community property and debt as well as your required expected future income and budgets
- you each engage a separate family law attorney to advise you about what the law says and doesn’t say and to advocate for you individually during the final property and debt division, child and spousal support agreements. One attorney memorializes your final divorce agreements in the form required by the Court which the other attorney then reviews
The Collaborative team is able to work with you both to facilitate a meaningful discussion of the issues at hand so that the drama that often goes with divorce is minimized. They should also help keep you both focused and on track and make suggestions to help you finally resolve any issues that may linger. Even the most communication-challenged couples can be successful in Collaboration. Your Collaborative team, however, can’t make decisions for you, force either of you to accept a term, insist that either of you sign an agreement or work any harder than you and your spouse are willing to work in resolving your common divorce-related issues.
Mediative Collaboration works when both of you are open to negotiating the terms of your divorce. During your meetings, each of you will have the opportunity to explain your expectations and preferences for the common divorce-related issues including property division, spousal support, child custody, visitation and child support. And each of you will have the opportunity to listen to the other’s expectations and preferences. This “active” listening is one of the reasons that mediation within the mediative Collaboration model works so well. Divorcing couples often have difficulty listening to each other which is makes problem-solving in divorce negotiations challenging; “active” listening promotes negotiation.
Will mediative Collaboration work for you? For many couples, working together with the support of the Collaborative team will emerge from the divorce with greater respect for themselves and their spouse and with a new found freedom to get on with the rest of their lives unburdened with the toxic emotions often associated with traditional adversarial divorce litigation – anger, fear, anxiety, guilt and shame. You are more likely to have a successful mediative Collaboration if you and your spouse both agree to participate in the divorce process, there’s no history of domestic violence or coercive control, both of you are honest and transparent about finances and you can develop common goals and interest for your children and can agree on custody terms.
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