By Pamela Edwards-Swift, Esq.

Deciding whether or not to end a marriage is a difficult decision to make. From what I see, it seems that more people agonize over the decision to end the marriage than they did in deciding whether or not to marry in the first place. This is probably because most people are true romantics. The majority of us believe in “happily ever after,” or at least the idea of it. Well, at least we hope for it. If they let go of the marriage, then they are giving up on their dream.

Unfortunately, life happens and “happily ever after” is not always possible. Dreams are shattered, hearts are broken, etc. Then, as if losing the dream is not enough, you have to endure years of divorce court, the true playground of the devil. Attorneys and judges in family law court witness every day really good people act their very worst.

Now acting like a jerk in public isn’t that bad, really, if all you are doing is embarrassing yourself. The problem becomes when you are acting like a jerk and your children are negatively effected by your actions. That is the problem with family law. It would be so easy, if only the children were spared the pain.

Keeping children in mind, is exactly what a Collaborative Divorce is all about. In a Collaborative Divorce, the children are the focus. Sparing the children from pain, or at least, limiting the pain, is what the process is all about.

The basis for Collaborative Divorce is the idea that divorcing spouses can work together with their Collaborative professional team toward the common objectives of ending a marriage equitably, with dignity, respect and the best interests of the family in mind.

A Collaborative Divorce does not mean that there will be no pain. No one can promise that. But, what it does mean is that the pain will be minimized. It is a viable alternative to families who want to go through the legal process with dignity and without the accompanying destruction of lives and relationships.

Collaborative Divorce continues to grow in the Inland Empire. A new non-profit organization is forming to educate professionals on the collaborative process. The movement is exciting for professionals and their clients alike. The group, named CDPIE (Collaborative Professionals of the Inland Empire), will meet semi-monthly to educate attorneys, accountants and mental health professionals on the process of Collaborative Divorce and will encourage them to become educated in the discipline. Once the group is active and running, they will also begin the process of spreading the word to the public.

So, if divorce is imminent, you may want to try this new process, rather than litigate. In doing so, make certain your attorney is trained in the Collaborative process, otherwise it will not work.