Collaborative Divorce saves lives!
I am an Orlando collaborative divorce attorney. I was on my way to work when I saw it on the billboard. Our Orlando Health Heart Institute is celebrating Heart Health Awareness Month. This is one of its slogans…”Collaboration Can Save Lives.” This catch-phrase is referring to the power of collaboration between medical professionals and doctors and patients – a life-saving dynamic.
When I saw the slogan, I instantly thought of collaborative divorce. The choice to use this non-litigated settlement process instead of litigation may not be a choice of life over death. However, I contemplated how collaborative divorce could save lives in the metaphorical sense.
COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE SAVES LIVES – THE BASICS
Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to a courtroom battle. You and your spouse contractually commit to respectful, constructive communication. You commit to being transparent and cooperative to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. I have been a trained Orlando collaborative divorce attorney since 2011. I have seen the collaborative divorce process help many families.
You have the help of professional team. Your professional team consists of your lawyers, a neutral mental health professional and a neutral financial professional.
HOW DOES COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE SAVE LIVES
How could this possibly save my life, my child’s life, let alone the metaphorical life of my soon-to-be ex-spouse? Furthermore, why would I even want to make things easier on my spouse?
I tell my clients all the time…If you have minor children and are divorcing, you are going to be co-parenting with your spouse until the youngest of your children reaches age 18. Or in some cases, longer. You will follow a parenting plan that either you negotiated together or one that the court has created for you. You will continue forward as a restructured family.
The manner in which you and your spouse deal with the new situation can have far-reaching implications for your children.
DAMAGE TO CHILDREN OF DIVORCE
According to Bill Eddy, a well-respected lawyer, a licensed clinical social worker, co-founder of the High Conflict Institute, and one of my instructors at Pepperdine University School of Law, the average age of children living in conflicted arrangements is becoming increasingly younger.
Because of this, children are experiencing less stability in their young lives. They also have greater exposure to parents in conflict. Moreover, they often suffer the loss of contact with one parent. In his work, Bill Eddy also found that Borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, while affecting 10% of the U.S. population, affects about 15% of young adults ages 20 through 29.3.
One of the causes of these disorders is instability in early childhood. Stability is necessary for children to develop relationship skills, confidence and the ability to cope with life challenges.
Creating stability for your children after divorce is crucial for their development into adulthood. Children model the behavior of their adult caretakers and carry these behaviors, including relationship skills, into their grown-up lives.
The collaborative process fosters open and constructive communication between you and your spouse. In addition, through the help of the neutral mental health professional (MHP), you can begin to learn how to effectively co-parent while living separately. Quite often, parents will continue on as a parenting team attending co-parenting counseling sessions with the MHP.
What better way to create stability for your child than to have a constructive, civil relationship with their other parent? By cooperating and effectively communicating with your ex-spouse, you provide crucial modeling behavior for your children (they will emulate your behavior). You are also creating an environment of harmony and function for them.
The wonderful side effect of this is that because you now are communicating in a more effective way with your spouse, you are not engaging in the useless expenditure of life force spent over battling your ex. I see this all too frequently with my clients.
A new life awaits you, your children and your spouse after your divorce. As an Orlando Collaborative Divorce Lawyer, I have seen collaboration “save” lives. You have the opportunity to choose to “save” the lives of your children.