It is not uncommon for two people to come to divorce at very different points in readiness. In fact, one spouse may not want the divorce at all. You may not have anticipated your spouse wanting a divorce, but that does not mean you can ignore it. If one spouse wants a divorce, it needs to be addressed. If things cannot be worked out in counseling, or if one of spouse is not interested in therapy to improve the marriage, you will need to address the divorce. Minnesota is a no-fault-divorce state. This means a divorce may be granted if either party wants to end the marriage–you do not both need to agree.
If one of you wants divorce, the other spouse should meet with an attorney to learn about the process. You will need legal guidance to help you through the divorce process and learn about your options. Collaborative divorce is one of the best options available to divorcing couples. Collaborative divorce allows both spouses to have legal representation, but moves through the process in a respectful and non-adversarial way. If discussing parenting schedules, child custody, financial division of property, or support options is challenging for you, you may want an advocate who is also versed in the emotional needs of both of you.
The Collaborative Process also allows for other neutrals to help guide and support you through the process. A child specialist can help address parenting challenges. They have expertise in child development and co-parenting challenges and they can help tailor agreements that will work for the whole family.
A neutral coach can help support you emotionally through the process. Maybe you need help with communication or guidance to work on a particularly emotional issue; a coach can help with this. Indeed the collaborative structure as a whole is designed to help you be your very best in this process. Even if you don’t want the divorce, bringing your best self forward will help the process go as smoothly as possible.
Divorce is not an easy process. It is particularly challenging if you don’t want the divorce. Seeking a safe and caring process may be the best thing you do for yourself and the outcomes reached. Do not let the fact that the divorce is unwanted, or comes as a surprise, hinder you. Choose a process that will help you feel safe and protected.
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