Could Coronavirus Bring About the Golden Age of Collaborative Divorce?

By: Andrea C. Mackaronis

The collaborative divorce process was made for times like these.

The process, whereby the parties and attorneys agree not to litigate, is based upon joint problem-solving. You work together to find creative solutions to challenging issues. It is not a zero-sum game like most divorce litigation; this is truly a process where everyone can win. The goal is to craft a resolution, using your collaborative team, where everyone has what they need to move forward. While this process is beneficial even during times of “normalcy” – it has been infinitely more productive than litigation during this pandemic.

 

The collaborative divorce process is a healthier way to divorce.

A mental health professional becomes an integral part of your collaborative team, which is necessary now more than ever with all of the additional stressors, triggers, and tensions of a divorce in a COVID-19 world. There may be additional areas that might need immediate attention – like how you and your spouse are to co-exist in a home when neither of you can leave because of stay-at-home orders, children who are schooling from home, or inability to afford another home before the divorce is finalized. In order to assist the parties to move towards a resolution, it may be beneficial for the parties to spend some time with the mental health professional/divorce coach to develop a plan for co-existing in both the short-term and the long term. Your mental health professional/divorce coach can guide you through parenting time plans and squabbles, and adds an invaluable perspective when the team may reach an impasse.

 

The collaborative divorce process is a smarter way to divorce.

You agree to use joint experts who will help you navigate any complex parenting time or financial issues – and of course as with anything else during this past year, both parenting time and financial issues have gotten a lot more complicated! The case is handled in a series of meetings with the necessary members of your collaborative team, at a pace that is convenient for both you and your spouse. Gone are the days of 100-question long interrogatory packets and subpoenas to third-party institutions – discovery is a streamlined process, with both parties cooperating to provide disclosure of requested information or documentation. It is an empowering process that focuses on the things that you care about most – and gives you the tools to get through the process with dignity and respect. Perhaps most importantly, the collaborative process results in more satisfied clients and more satisfied attorneys. It is a better way to divorce.

 

While some of us have been believers in the collaborative process from the onset, the challenges that we have faced litigating matters through the Courts this past year should make converts out of all of us. If you are contemplating a divorce, please consider whether the collaborative divorce process might be right for you. Do not hesitate to contact me directly at amackaronis@hoaglandlongo.com or at 732-545-4717 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free initial consultation.