Divorce doesn't have to be stressful.
A truly amicable divorce is possible with the right attorney.
The world rolled its collective eyes when Gwyneth Paltrow talked about her “conscious uncoupling” with Chris Martin in 2014. To a society that values individual victories, a cooperative, amicable divorce can seem akin to waving a white flag.
As a divorce attorney, I get a front-row seat to this process every single day. I see the fallout of legal battles and I see the emotional toll it takes on those who are involved.
And in my opinion, there's a lot to be said about choosing a healthy, amicable divorce.
You Don't Need a Bulldog Lawyer
When you first told your friends and family that you were getting divorced, you probably got a lot of recommendations and advice.
“You have to take your spouse to the cleaner or they'll take advantage of you! I'll give you my attorney's number, he's a bulldog!”
You lawyer up, your spouse lawyers up, and the next thing you know, both of you are locked into battle, too afraid to take your guard down. As a result, you spend the entire divorce playing defense.
Your lawyers are reminding you both of all the reasons you should stay mad, which is exhausting (no one can maintain that level of emotion for long). The conflict keeps escalating until everyone walks away angry and disgruntled.
God forbid you throw children into the middle of this!
With this type of divorce, someone may walk away with more assets and child custody, but no one truly “wins.”
But with collaborative divorce, there's a better way.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce aims for a healthy, therapeutic experience that preserves the family unit and de-escalates conflict. Rather than focusing on “winning,” the two of you focus on a solution that works for both of you.
The vast majority of divorce cases (roughly 90%) never even go to trial. So why would you need a tough litigator?
Sure, you could always fight tooth and nail if you need to, but if you and your spouse are both willing to commit to a better way, collaboration can make for a much more amicable divorce than you even think possible.
Why Choose Collaborative Divorce?
In my experience, most couples hope for an amicable divorce (even if they do it secretly!). Collaborative divorce provides them with an exit ramp off of the Bitter Divorce Highway.
What are the benefits of an amicable divorce?
Better For the Family
If you have children, they're already trying to come to terms with a split custody agreement and a parent who is absent some (or most) of the time. While some of these things can't be helped, collaborative divorce prevents the emotional distress that comes from seeing their parents fighting.
If children are involved, divorce doesn't end your relationship, it merely changes it. And just because you aren't married anymore doesn't mean you're out of each other's hair forever.
An amicable divorce aims to improve communication in the future so the two of you can co-parent more easily.
More Emotional Support
Have you ever heard the saying, “Marriage is hard, divorce is hard...choose your hard?”
No family lawyer (no matter how good s/he is) can completely remove the emotions you are feeling during your divorce. But with a collaborative, amicable divorce, you receive emotional support and understanding during a difficult time.
I know that hiring the “tough guy” lawyer seems like it would give you more control, but if your case does go to trial, a judge will end up with the final say on all those decisions you're fighting over.
Collaboration lets the two of you come to those decisions on your own.
Better Experience Overall
I've seen it firsthand: when two people work together toward a common goal, they're much more satisfied with the outcome—and that includes divorce.
Divorce doesn't have to mean drawn-out, costly legal battles if you don't want them to.
Is Amicable Divorce Possible?
Yes! I know it is, because I see it every day.
In order to work, both parties must be committed to finding a harmonious solution. But if done right, collaborative divorce can be utterly life-changing.
At LeapFrog Divorce, I take a client-centered approach that matches your needs, whether you need a consultant, mediator, co-counsel, or full representation. Divorce is hard enough without throwing gas on the fire. Find a better way through collaborative, amicable divorce.