What Kind of Family is the Best Fit for the Collaborative Divorce Process?

October 11, 2021

When we’re doing work around the house it’s important to have the right tool for the right job. A collaborative team approach to divorce is not right for every family, but if your goal is to have a smooth divorce and separate in a healthy way, then collaborative law may be the right fit for your family. From my experience of over 35 years of divorce practice and over 10 years of collaborative divorce, I have noticed some themes. Less than 5% of my divorce cases have not successfully handled separation in an amicable way. The other 95% of divorcing couples that have had smooth and limited conflict cases often have the following themes running through them.

When couples realize that a divorce settlement is not a single transaction and instead, it is the next chapter in their lives, then often low-conflict results are possible. When there are children involved in a marital separation and each parent wants to ensure there is less emotional conflict, then the collaborative law process can be beneficial.

6 Qualities & Attributes for a Healthy, Low-Conflict Divorce

  1. Mutual respect.
  2. The willingness to look at the situation through the eyes of the other people who are involved.
  3. A willingness to compromise and share.
  4. In collaborative divorce, there is a willingness to take a team approach to rebuild trust.
  5. Willingness to lay all cards on the table. Whether it’s full disclosure of all financial aspects of the relationship or simply being willing to share ultimate goals, the collaborative team is a good place to work on whatever may be in the way of an honest approach to divorce solutions.
  6. A willingness to bring in experts. If your “do it yourself” approach has brought you to the point of divorce maybe it’s time to shift into a state of being willing to let people with legal expertise assist your family.

Circumstances that Complicate Healthy Separations

The collaborative process and solutions are often outside of traditional lines that would be painted by a tribunal like a court or an arbitrator. The solutions are holistic and value all players during the separation.

Sometimes the family situation is especially difficult due to special needs children. It can feel overwhelming to the parents. The collaborative team is a great support in crafting solutions that are in support of a family with special needs children. Or, in divorce cases where trust has been eroded, for example, infidelity, substance abuse, or mental illness, or financial shenanigans, the experts on a collaborative divorce team bring more than just legal knowledge. A divorce coach has expertise in a wide range of emotional and communication areas. A financial neutral brings a level of transparency and trust to the monetary aspect.

So what makes a good family for a collaborative approach to divorce is openness and honesty, willingness to be supported, and big helpings of mutual respect.

About Peter E. Bort

Mr. Bort is the principal of Bort Law, a member of Collaborative Law Professionals of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Council of Mediators, and Association of Conflict Resolution – Delaware Valley. He holds a B.A. from Binghamton University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Bort has practiced family law for more than thirty years and has been a Mediator for over twenty-five years. Mr. Bort has administered more than one hundred decedents’ estates and has prepared wills and ancillary documents for more than one thousand families. Learn more about Peter E. Bort.