Collaborative Divorce Plays to Your Strength

By Ruth Lusby, JD

If you and your spouse are contemplating a divorce, you may feel like your lives are in emotional and financial turmoil.  Crucial decisions need to be made that will have long term effects on each of you and your children. Yet, the idea of making legal and financial decisions that affect your future can seem like a daunting task with more questions than answers.

As one client put it, “I don’t know what I don’t know.”  In reality, clients know a lot.  In fact, you know it all… you just may not know it at the outset.   You – the divorcing couple – are the experts about your family, your individual needs, and what you want for your future, apart from each other.  So, who better to answer the myriad of questions that arise?  Who better to decide what your future brings? YOU. That is your strength.

Collaborative Divorce plays to your strength. Collaborative Divorce offers an out-of-court approach to divorce that provides both you and your spouse emotional support, communication tools, and financial and legal information to help you ask the right questions and answer those questions so you can make informed decisions. Collaborative Divorce brings you the added value of having experts in communication, finance and the law work with you as you negotiate what is important to you.

  • Each of you will have your own Collaborative Attorney, who works with you and with your spouse’s attorney and other collaborative professionals, to provide information to you and your spouse about the law and the legal process.
  • Communication Coaches help you and your spouse normalize the emotions that arise during a divorce and provide tools to help each of you express what is important to you so each feels heard, but also hears the other person — in short, to communicate more effectively.
  • A Financial Neutral gathers financial information from both of you, helps you create budgets, provides education where needed, and provides you with a “picture” of your financial circumstances as you work with the Financial Neutral and your Collaborative Attorneys to negotiate your financial agreements.
  • If there are children, a Child Specialist may meet with the children to give them a voice in the divorce process, and provide you with information to assist you and your Coach(es) develop a parenting plan that meets the needs of the children.

Throughout the Collaborative Divorce process, the team of collaborative professionals works closely with you and your spouse in joint meetings. You and your spouse are active participants in the Collaborative Divorce process, every step along the way, from the decision to divorce collaboratively to the signing of the final documents. You attend every meeting and, as your questions are answered and choices are made, with the help of your Collaborative Divorce team YOU negotiate the terms of your divorce agreement. Your attorneys will prepare all of the documents needed to initiate your divorce, memorialize your agreements and finalize your divorce – all without going to court.

By playing to your strength – your unique knowledge about what is important to you – the Collaborative Divorce process helps allay fears, reduces stress and uncertainty and empowers you and your spouse to find solutions to come out of the divorce as financially secure as possible; and when there are children, for them to know that they are loved and that it is okay for them to love both parents.

Ruth Lusby is a collaborative divorce attorney and a member of Arizona Collaborative Colleagues.

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