By Pamela Edwards-Swift, Esq.

When a couple separates and divorces, there is essentially a death that occurs.  It is the death of a family.  Not surprisingly, mental health professionals will tell you, there are certain emotions associated with divorce that mirror those emotions associated with death.

Along with the grief, hopefully, comes the eventual healing.  With timely acknowledgment and grieving, all family members can heal.  When you are caught up in a divorce, it is hard to believe that there may be a way to get past the pain.

There is hope.  I can’t promise miracles, but I can tell you there is a new approach to divorce that in 95% of the cases allows closure for the entire family.

Collaborative divorce is a relative new approach to divorce which is now gaining momentum in the Inland Empire.  The movement started in the east, and has been big in Canada.  It is not exclusive to North America.  This is an international movement which extends to Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda and some countries of Europe.

Essentially, collaborative divorce takes a hollistic approach to divorce.  It reduces the “bleeding” associated with divorce and gives the divorcing couple total control over the case, rather than the attorneys, courts, etc.    The couple works with their own attorney (who must be trained in collaborative divorce), their own health professional (a coach, not a therapist), a mental health professional for the children (a voice, not someone to recommend custody) and a financial advisor.  All members of the professional team are trained in collaborative divorce and are committed to resolving the case without litigation.

It may sound expensive, but it is not.  Litigation, especially when children are involved is  considerably more expensive.  And that is just talking about the money part of litigation.  There is also an emotional cost attributed to divorce litigation.  The wear and tear on your emotions, after a two, three, four years or more of litigation, can literally take good years off of a persons life.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the effect of divorce on children.  Just think about it.  If you and someone else are shooting arrows at each other, and someone is standing between the two of you, don’t you think the person in the middle will be hit with arrows?  So, what happens when you are fighting with your soon to be ex-spouse?  Who is in the middle?  The children.  They can’t help be wounded, even if you don’t intend to “hit” them when you are shooting your arrows.  Collaborative divorce takes that away.

It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  It’s not.  If you have the right team, you can have the confidence of knowing that there is a 95% success rate.  Think about it.  Less money, less emotional toll on the children, less emotional toll on you, and knowing that you are in control.  Which would you choose.  The caveat: make certain your attorney is a trained collaborative professional, otherwise it won’t work.