Divorce can be a time in our lives when we not only have our usual day-to-day life, but we now have also added, willingly or not, a substantial number of responsibilities and requirements on top of this already heavy load. We worry about the impact on our finances, family, and relationships. We struggle with the added commitments and the once shared responsibilities that are now solidly on our lap. Feeling in genuine control can give us a sense of calm and peace, but how can we achieve this when we’re going through a transition that is so unknown and is one that often instills fear, uncertainty, and other unpleasant emotions? A Collaborative Divorce allows you to control what you are able to control while holding the reins alongside a respected, trusted team that has the training and skills to educate. This enables you to have the biggest impact on of one of life’s biggest transitions.

Control over your divorce

You are one of the two most knowledgeable people when it comes to your family, finances, hopes, desires, and history. Even so, no one knows everything, and we cannot be an expert on a transition we’ve never experienced or on a responsibility that our spouse has historically handled. We all have times in our lives when we need to ask for help; divorce is one of those times. With an educated, experienced team that you trust and respect, you put yourself and your spouse in control of the timeline, process, and outcome.

The collaborative team recognizes that you know your situation better than anyone else and will listen for your desires, goals, concerns, questions, and fears. You are likely highly knowledgeable about certain aspects of your life and less so of others. A trained collaborative team’s role is to assist, inform, and guide; not dictate. With the team’s assistance, you will have access to legal, financial, and family experts who will help you with the decisions you’ll need to make to resolve your divorce. You, the team, and your spouse will work together to set a pace that suits your lives and your schedules; in this process, the clients supply the relevant information and then work with the collaborative team as opposed to being bound by a judge’s schedule and decisions.

How do you know what is the “right” decision or answer to your questions? Your team will encourage respectful cooperation and communication while assisting and guiding you through the process to organize, educate, and inform where needed and to listen and learn from your expertise. After some initial work and open discussions, together you will uncover realistic, tailored options seen over years of experience that may work for you or give you some ideas that seem mutually acceptable for your specific family. At this point, the outcome is entirely within the control of you and your spouse. You presumably have a solid understanding of the information you’re evaluating as you make decisions, and you have identified your interests which are the most informative data points you have for evaluating options. (It’s important to note that at this stage of the process, there are often additional interests uncovered as you react to the options; if there’s an option you have a strong reaction to – positive or negative – chances are there’s an interest behind that reaction.)

A goal in the collaborative divorce process is for each spouse to feel they have a safe space for open discussions where they can offer and hear options and ideas that will ultimately result in resolution. The entire team will focus on prioritizing the concerns and hopes of both spouses as well as your children, when applicable. You will be informed throughout the process so that, in the end, you each will have the informed freedom of deciding which combination of options best meets your personal future needs while attempting to minimize potential future conflicts.

I’m certain you still have many questions. I’ve included a couple of CDT article links to answer the question: What is a Collaborative Divorce? You may also be curious about how the process works and what roles do the team members play?

Advisory services offered through Per Stirling Capital Management, LLC. This material is provided for informational purposes only. Individual advice should be provided by the appropriate tax, legal, financial, or accounting professional.

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