Navigating your Collaborative Divorce

You have decided to embark on a Collaborative Divorce. You would like to make the most of it.  Here are some tips for how to successfully navigate the process

           Establish goals for your Collaborative Divorce.

Think about your goals for the Collaborative Divorce process.  Consider the big picture as well as particular goals you might have.

    Permit each person to speak without interruption.

Basic civility will go a long way to further fruitful negotiations.  The Collaborative Divorce attorneys will make sure that each of you has an opportunity to be heard.

Listen respectfully with an open mind.

Your anger and frustration may make it hard for you to really hear what your spouse is saying.  Take the time to listen and you may be surprised to hear helpful ideas.

State facts, not accusations.  Ask for what you want and need.  State your   reasons.

Feel free to ask for what you need without accusing your spouse of not giving it to you.  Explain your needs as clearly as you can. 

Focus on the future, not the past.

You and your spouse disagree. That is why you are getting divorced.  Move on.

Speak only for yourself, not for the other person.

One of the advantages of Collaborative Divorce is that you will do most of your negotiations in 4-way meetings with your spouse and your two attorneys.  You do not have to speak for your spouse.  He or she is in the room and keep speak for himself or herself.

Consider one issue in your Collaborative Divorce at a time.

There are many things to be decided in divorce.  The multitude of issues can seem overwhelming. Take them one at a time.  Your Collaborative Divorce attorneys will make certain that you do not overlook important questions.  Take notes to ease any concerns about missing issues of importance. Focus on the matter at hand.

Agree to think about all possible solutions to resolve each issue.

It is tempting to come to a 4-way meeting with your own ideas about how many divorce issues should be settled.  Keep an open mind.  Brainstorm and leave all ideas on the table for consideration. Do not reject ideas without thinking them through.

Treat all decisions as temporary until all issues are resolved.

You are not bound by any decisions made in your negotiations until all of the issues have been handled.  For example, you might want to reconsider the division of assets in light of decisions about spousal support. All of these issues will together make up your divorce agreement.  Feel comfortable making tentative agreements that can be re-evaluated as negotiations proceed.

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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