A recent article in the New York Times suggests that big-money divorces provide lessons for less-wealthy couples. Regardless of a couple’s income or net worth, several questions are common to most marriage dissolutions, including:
  • How can we create a parenting plan that will benefit our children?
  • How can we divide our assets fairly?
  • How can we maintain control of divorce costs?
The Collaborative divorce process uses a team model to provide the information and support necessary to allow couples to reach mutually satisfactory answers to these questions. As the New York Times article points out, Collaborative divorce “focuses on getting to a quick, fair resolution.” A thoughtful parenting plan consists of more than a schedule of overnights. A Collaborative child specialist can help parents craft a plan that addresses the individual and developmental needs of their children. Discussions often include such issues as the schools the children will attend, future relationships with extended family, introduction of significant others, and future moves by either parent. Sometimes parents can reach agreements regarding possible future events, but often it is sufficient to agree on a process for resolving future differences of opinion. Either way, including such agreements in the parenting plan can provide a framework for the years ahead. Similarly, achieving a fair division of assets can be challenging. A Collaborative financial professional can assist with collection of documentation, valuation of assets, and tax considerations. Once both parties understand the relevant information, they generate and evaluate various settlement options to determine the best arrangement for their family. While keeping the costs of divorce as reasonable as possible is a worthy goal, conflict is expensive. In litigation, each spouse hires their own experts, often resulting in extreme positions, elevated emotions, and a sluggish process. Collaboratively trained neutral professionals, whose fees are shared by the parties, provide more expertise at a lower cost. Their neutrality also reduces the likelihood of impasse due to either spouse’s unrealistic expectations. If you are interested in learning more about the Collaborative process, please visit the Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota website for more information.