Because much of today’s family law is based in the litigation model, many families facing divorce start thinking of their stories in terms of “sides,” where one will be a winner and the other will be a loser at the end of the divorce. Collaborative divorce attempts to move beyond that mindset and focus instead on finding a solution that both parties can work with for the long term.
For families thinking about using the collaborative process, it’s important from the outset to avoid the win/loss mentality. One way to do that is to relax and focus on listening instead of talking. To find the common ground, it’s essential that you hear and understand what your spouse is saying and feeling. You should also listen to what your attorney and the other collaborative divorce professionals are advising. It’s essential that you trust that your attorney, your spouse, your spouse’s attorney and anyone else that may be involved in the process are all working together to ensure you’ll find a solution that works for everyone.
Another tip that can help you stay away from the win-lose dichotomy is to be patient. It may take longer than you expect for everyone to share their thoughts, feelings and insights. Several meetings may be necessary, but the collaborative divorce process is designed to be as efficient as possible while still honoring the parties need to create a decision that is not rushed.