How To Make Collaborative Divorce Work
Collaborative divorce, just like the title suggests, involves you working together with your spouse to handle your divorce outside the court system. Done right, collaborative divorce works great and reduces divorce costs as well as the associated tension. Here are a few useful tips to help you execute your collaborative divorce with finesse:
Do Your Homework Early
Prepare yourself for the divorce early enough so that you don't have to interrupt the proceedings because you aren't prepared or don't have some required document. This means gathering all the financial documents, filling all the necessary forms, and even getting someone to take care of the kids during your meetings.
Practice Full Disclosure
A successful divorce requires full disclosure; in fact, it is a legal requirement. However, you shouldn't practice full disclosure just to satisfy the legal requirements; it is for your own rights too. Lying about your income, hiding assets or underestimating the value of your business will slow down and make your divorce expensive because your spouse will not rest until they know the truth. In fact, your spouse may easily give up on the collaborative process if they believe you are not perfectly forthcoming.
Don't Expect an Instant Solution
Divorce lawyers have likened the collaborative process to a marathon; that is, it takes time and you need to be patient with it. Therefore, if you approach the process like a sprint and expect an instant solution, you will end up with disappointment. Even if you have opted for a collaborative divorce, it doesn't mean that you are in agreement on every issue; negotiating everything will take time.
Don't Try To "Win"
Don't approach your collaborative divorce process as a "win" or "lose" process; that is, don't set out to win. If you view it like that, then you may be tempted to do everything in your power to "win," including underhand methods. Besides, what exactly is a divorce win? Does it mean getting custody of the kids, getting the family house, maximizing your alimony or denying your spouse their desires? Since winning means different thing to different people, it means there is no set formula for doing it, which opens the door for unorthodox tactics.
Use Your Professional Team
Lastly, a collaborative divorce makes use of divorce lawyers, accountants, therapists, and financial planners, among other professionals. Every professional has their role in the team; it would be a waste of resources to pay them and not listen to their advice.