Most people getting a divorce have never been through the divorce process. Naturally, there is a fear of the unknown because it is difficult to know what to expect. As the client, you are in uncharted waters and unfamiliar territory. It is difficult to know what your life post-divorce is going to look like. Fear should be managed because it impacts decision making.
Fear and anxiety cause our prefrontal cortexes to shut down. Our ability to make good decisions is affected. It is important when you are going through a divorce to have counsel, and a trusted advisor to make sure that you are making good decisions and not decisions that are driven by fear or anxiety.
One of the benefits of the Collaborative Divorce process is that it allows everybody a chance to put their fears on the table and address them. One of the reasons we have the mental health professionals in the room (either virtually or physically) is to help manage those emotions, to help to keep them in check, and to provide emotional support.
Scenarios Guide Decision-Making
One of the wonderful things about Collaborative Divorce is that we can try on several different scenarios. A common concern for clients is what will happen to the family home, whether it’s giving it up, having to sell it, or perhaps wanting to keep it for emotional reasons, but not knowing the financial impact. In the Collaborative Divorce process, we have the help of a financial neutral who can run a number of different scenarios. We can do those projections and see if you or your spouse keeps the house, for example, what is that going to look like 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road? Are they going to have enough money to retire, based on their division of the estate, based on keeping the house? We can look at all of those things to help you and your spouse make concrete, better informed decisions.
Is Collaborative Divorce Better?
Absolutely. I was on the phone with a potential client the other day, and I was describing the different divorce options to her… Mediation, Collaboration, Litigation… and she asked me, after I had finished describing the Collaborative Divorce option, “Well, why doesn’t everybody use that? Why would anybody go down the path of litigation?” And I explained that Collaborative Divorce takes two willing participants. Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be mandated or imposed upon an unwilling participant. Not all cases can be collaborative, but I do think that for the right family, and for the right couple, collaborative is a better choice.