In my initial meeting with clients they often ask this question. It’s a valid question and arises, I think, because of the traditional stereotype of divorce and what it often looks like. Traditionally, divorce was about winning and losing, preparing for a battle in court where you strive to win with little regard for the claims of your spouse. During the process you try to gain every possible advantage to defeat your spouse. This is a typical “win-lose” scenario! If you think about divorce in these terms, you may be concerned that a more respectful process like the collaborative divorce process may mean concessions and settling for less than what you would get if you win in court.
The collaborative divorce process seeks to change the dynamic of divorce from “win-lose” to “win-win”. We seek to determine what the highest needs of each spouse are and seek to create a solution that meets each of their needs. Often the needs of each spouse are different – for example, one spouse may want to retain an employment pension and the other spouse may be more interested in retaining the family residence. In the collaborative divorce process, instead of strictly following the law (which would have the spouses splitting each asset) we are able to look at other options that better meet the needs of spouses. Divorcing couples using the collaborative divorce process stand to gain more than they would hope to gain in a court battle.
Also important is that in the collaborative divorce process you and your spouse maintain control over the process and its outcome. You determine what is most important to you in moving forward, the pace of the negotiations and the terms of the ultimate agreement. After all, aren’t you best able to determine what works best for you moving forward in life? In court you relinquish full control to the lawyers and ultimately to the judge to reach a resolution that he or she deems appropriate for you and your spouse. Sometimes the outcome is a “win-lose” and sometimes it is a “lose-lose”.
When you are in the collaborative divorce process you and your spouse determine the pace and the timeline. Sometimes the spouses need time to work with the divorce coaches to manage emotions, or sometimes we need to work around vacation or work schedules. This can be reasonably accommodated in the collaborative divorce process.
A win-win resolution provides a much stronger and more stable springboard for a couple and family to move forward in life! We encourage you to use the collaborative divorce process to seek to reach this outcome.