Talking to Your Spouse about the Collaborative Divorce Process
Well, you have taken the first big step toward conflict resolution, you have come to Reese Law for a consultation. As part of the consultation, we have discussed process—the different ways in which your conflict can be resolved.
You decide that you want to engage in the Collaborative Divorce Process. Among other things, you like the fact that you and your spouse and each of your Collaboratively trained attorneys will commit to resolving your conflict outside of litigation, as you have heard that litigation is expensive, time consuming, and emotionally devastating. You find it comforting that in the Collaborative Divorce Process, you and your spouse will share all information necessary for each of you to make informed decisions. You like that you and your spouse will be in control of your outcome, instead of a Judge who does not know you or your family, and is not allowed to hear everything necessary to get to know you and your situation. And, it makes you less anxious that you will not have to worry about your spouse’s attorney strategizing against you or taking advantage of you.
Now, how do you get your spouse on board….after all, trust between the two of you may not be at its highest right now, and each of you may be suspicious of the other’s suggestions. Think about what is important to your spouse and how the Collaborative Divorce Process will help meet your spouse’s interests:
- If your spouse is a very private person, or perhaps your spouse’s professional identity may be adversely affected by a public divorce: Let your spouse know that unlike litigation, in the Collaborative Divorce Process, the parties work with their attorneys and their team in the privacy of the attorneys’ offices. Neither party has to ever step foot in a courtroom, and the public court file will contain only the barest essentials, so very little personal information is on record.
- If your spouse is concerned about the cost of separation and divorce or the cost of engaging an attorney: Let your spouse know that the two of you will have more control over cost, and that in the Collaborative Divorce Process you will not have the cost of formal discovery or trial preparation. Additionally, you and your spouse will rely on your attorneys for legal advice, but your team will consist of other professionals, who are experts in their fields, and who cost less than attorneys, to help you with the financial and emotional work.
- If your spouse is afraid that there will be sudden changes about finances, or time with the children, or living arrangements: Explain to your spouse that once the two of you enter the Collaborative Divorce Process, status quo is preserved unless and until changes are discussed and there is agreement, so both of you can relax and concentrate on how to move forward.
If you are approached by your spouse about engaging in the Collaborative Divorce Process, do not dismiss the suggestion simply because it is coming from your spouse. Do some research, read the materials your spouse may provide, and take the time to consult with an attorney who has been formally trained in the Collaborative Process.
Each of the attorneys at Reese Law understand the importance of process. If you have questions about talking with your spouse about process and the best process for you and your family, please contact the attorneys here at Reese Law.
By Christine Hissong, Esq.