Mediation and Collaborative Divorce to Manage Conflict in Divorce

divorce mediation

Many people will turn to a divorce lawyer before talking to their spouse about divorce because they are concerned about preserving their rights. Often the other spouse learns about the divorce by receiving legal papers from the divorce lawyer beginning the divorce action. The other spouse, having been blindsided, engages his own divorce lawyer to respond to the action. Communication between the parties is over. From here on in, the divorce lawyers do the talking. Each party talks to his or her lawyer, who then communicates with the other lawyer. Like in a game of “Telephone” each communication is likely to be slightly distorted or misrepresented. The fear, anger and blame escalate, and the parties are further alienated from each other. It is important to note that the level of conflict between parents is the single most important factor in how children will fare in divorce. Let me be clear: More important than whether children remain in their home, the asset division, the support arrangement or even the parenting schedule, the most important thing you can do to help your children come through the divorce process whole is to keep the level of animosity between the parents to a minimum.
There is another way to divorce. You and your spouse can maintain control of the divorce process and untangle your lives in a thoughtful, respectful manner.

Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce Reduce the Level of Animosity

No divorce will be free of conflict. The goal is not to avoid conflict altogether; that is an unreachable goal for all but the most unusual couple. The aim is to manage the conflict and work through it thoughtfully and respectfully. There are ways to deal with the conflict of divorce productively.

Divorce Mediation

In divorce mediation, you and your spouse will meet with the neutral divorce mediator to talk about what the divorce will look like. Each spouse will have an opportunity to examine his or her goals for the process. These include financial and emotional goals for themselves and the children. The divorce mediator will facilitate these conversations and help each spouse articulate his or her needs. Read more about divorce mediation.

Collaborative Divorce

Some people would like to divorce amicably, but are, for one reason or another, uncomfortable sitting in the room with their spouse and the mediator without a divorce lawyer. Perhaps they find their spouse intimidating or are not at all familiar with financial matters and are unable to discuss them knowledgeably. For such people, collaborative divorce is a good option. In collaborative divorce, the couple sits at the table together, but each spouse has a divorce attorney in the room. Collaborative divorce is a respectful and thoughtful approach to dealing with the conflict of divorce. It has many of the same benefits of mediation, and also offers the comfort of having a divorce attorney at your side through the process. Read more about collaborative divorce.

Vicki Volper, a mediator and collaborative divorce lawyer practices in Westport, Connecticut.

Call for a consultation (203) 222-1202

About Vicki Volper

I am a divorce attorney in Westport who empowers people to divorce in a manner that maintains their dignity, preserves their assets and protects their children.
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