How do you turn a divorce process into a healing process? By envisioning your highest goals for what you want to accomplish during the divorce and after the divorce has ended. This is what happens in a Collaborative Divorce process. Unlike the traditional divorce process where the focus is often what happened in the past, the collaborative divorce process focuses on the future.
At the commencement of a collaborative divorce, the divorcing couple identify and share their vision for a healthy divorce and a healthy life after divorce. Here are some of the visions couples have shared with me in my work as a Collaborative Divorce attorney.
Beth and Peter's Vision
- For our children to see us co-parent with each other in a non-conflictive way.
- For us to live in close proximity to each other while raising our children.
- For us to live in stable environments while raising our children.
- For our children's lifestyles to be affected as little as possible by our divorce within the resources available to us (e.g., emotionally and educationally; that we continue with the educational plans we have made for our children; that our children live in the same community).
- For our children to have as much stability and security in their lives as they require.
- For us to be fully involved with raising our children.
- For both households to be financially resilient.
- For us to develop independently in terms of financial security.
- To have the flexibility in one's work schedule to be present with the children as their schedules require.
- For Beth to have the opportunity to explore educational, training, and other career opportunities with the goal of becoming financially independent.
- To respect the financial decisions made by us and our families, including the decision of Peter's family to leave him money.
- For us to be in a co-parenting relationship our children can count on.
- For us to be respectful of each other into the future.
- For us to create a new, healthy family relationship with each other.
- For us to look back on this difficult time in our shared life and be proud of how we handled a time of conflict and communicate it to our children when the time is right.
Erin and Matt's Vision (no children)
- That we have confidence in the decisions we make.
- That we make a transition to a friendly relationship when completed with the collaborative divorce process.
- That we have a feeling of peace and resolution.
- That we have a positive financial outcome that meets both of our needs.
- That we both have financial security.
- That the emotional distress of the divorce is minimized.
- That we are able to promote cordial relationships with each other's extended family and mutual friends.
- That we keep in mind the possibility that Erin will move out of the State.
- That the settlement take into consideration Erin's need to finish school.
- That Matt is able to remain in the homestead and maintain a reasonable budget.
- That Erin is able to purchase a modest home and meet her living expenses.
Jeff and Ann's Vision
- For our children not to feel divided.
- For our children to feel comfortable with both of us.
- For us to convey a sense of harmony to our children.
- To have financial security for both of us.
- To get along with each other after the divorce; to have mutual respect for each other; and to have a pleasant relationship.
Creating a vision of the future is the key to crafting settlements that achieve those visions. And so the healing begins.