About Collaborative Law
For the last thirty years, the divorce rate in the United States has ranged between 40 and 50 percent(Clark-Stewart & Brentano, 2006; Gaulier, Margerum, Price, & Windell, 2007), and research indicates that the divorce rate is approximately 10% worse for second marriages (Engblom-Deglmann, 2009; Ganong, Coleman, & Weaver, 2002). With this level of marital dissolution, almost half of the children born today will experience the divorce of their parents (Hetherington, Stanley-Hagan, & Anderson, 1989), and because approximately three quarters of those who divorce will remarry (Amato, 2000), many children will experience more than one divorce during their childhood.
Parents who divorce may be legally separated from their former spouses, but they remain tied to one another through their children, thus facing the challenge of coparenting. Extensive research reports that the most destructive part of divorce is the conflict and inter-parental conflict. Finding ways to reduce this conflict and maintain or create healthy coparenting functioning is therefore essential. The Collaborative Divorce is an excellent method at reducing conflict, decreasing stress and harm during the divorce process, and helping children and families cope better and find better solutions during and after the divorce process.
The hurt, anger, and sense of injury experienced after most divorces will often impair or reduce the functioning of the divorcing individuals, their children, and families. The divorce often impacts each individuals parenting, coparenting, professional work, and social functioning. If parents must divorce, research clearly demonstrates that the healthiest thing they can do is to find ways to reduce their conflict and find ways to divorce with the least amount of conflict. Collaborative family law is an excellent approach for utilizing a team approach in order to divorce in the healthiest manner. As a result of the success of Collaborative Divorces they are growing extensively in popularity with couples who wish to reduce their conflict and divorce in the healthiest way possible. Collaborative Divorces are now available in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia. This service typically combines the use of a team approach to resolving disputes with the goal of decreasing conflict, emotional and relational damage, and preservation of the economic and emotional resources of the divorcing couples.
These collaborative teams typically consist of a collaboratively trained attorney for each client, a collaboratively trained mental health professional, and a financial planner or forensic accountant. The process is negotiated so that all parties agree to proceed without litigation in order to avoid the destructive nature of the court process and do not rely on court-imposed solutions (Deutsch, 2008). The collaborative divorce process is based on a legal agreement to avoid court, to have an open exchange of information, to work collaboratively to meet both parties needs in the most reasonable ways, and recognizing that when children are involved, finding healthy ways to reduce conflict and maintain healthy relationships and responsibilities is essential to the children.
The Collaborative Divorce is done on the familyâï¿½ï¿½s schedule, not the courtâï¿½ï¿½s schedule, and the whole process is done while avoiding court. Avoiding court and avoiding court ordered mediation, is another way the family is spared stress, turmoil, and much of the typical conflict of a divorce is avoided. In addition, by avoiding court the familyâï¿½ï¿½s financial and familial dealings are kept out of court and public records thereby maintaining confidentiality much more effectively than the standard divorce. Imagine never having to step inside a courtroom, having a highly trained team guide you through the process, and having the whole process kept completely confidential. This level of collaboration is very promising (Deutsch, 2008) and can be a great benefit to couples as they seek to reduce conflict and increase cooperation in coparenting.
If you are interested in a Collaborative Divorce simply contact us and we can help assist you through this process. If you have already have an attorney and would like Dr. Reilly to serve on your Collaborative Divorce team please let us and your attorney know. If you would like to discuss this process with Dr. Reilly please contact the Counseling Corner to set up a time to begin the process with Dr. Reilly and we will assist you with the rest.