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Helping Northern Westchester Families

Nov 15, 2017BY:
IN: Collaborative Law

Is Collaborative Divorce Right For Me?

You’ve made the difficult, complicated, often painful decision to divorce. The question now is how you will move forward:  how you will protect your children, ensure financial stability for you and your family, and preserve important relationships. How will you work through the emotional, legal and financial decisions? Importantly, how will you structure your divorce so that you and your family can thrive in your future lives? Your choice of process plays a significant role in how you experience divorce, and how you come out on the other side.

In choosing a divorce process, ask yourself the following:

  • Can I work together with my spouse to find common ground? This can be harder than it sounds. Often the last person you want to work with is the spouse you are divorcing.
  • Am I willing to listen and try to understand my spouse, even if I don’t agree?
  • Can I be flexible in considering different resolutions to the same issue?
  • Does it matter to me that the outcome be fair and workable for both of us?

If these questions describe the respectful, cooperative environment in which you’d like to handle your divorce, then the Collaborative Divorce process is a good choice. While divorce isn’t easy, it’s usually much better for spouses and their families to take the time and energy to reach a balanced settlement. In the Collaborative process you have the opportunity to work with your spouse to find solid, workable solutions.

What matters most in arriving at the place of a balanced agreement is your commitment to authentic, meaningful discussions. Your intention and commitment to work with your spouse and your Collaborative team even if the going gets tough, is the key to putting the pieces together.

How do you maintain this commitment to working together?

  • Rely on the expertise and support of your Collaborative team. Each professional team member is deeply trained in conflict resolution and offers targeted support in their respective disciplines: legal, emotional, parenting, financial.
  • Stay focused on your goals. Keep what’s important to you at the forefront of your discussions. Hold on to the big picture.
  • Accept disagreement as an opportunity for exploration of possibilities, rather than as a dead end.
  • Envision a future where you, and your children, are happy. What does that look like?

Your Collaborative professional team has committed to working together, rather than against each other, to reach balanced resolutions. That commitment and intention will steady your process and help contain the uncertainty and fear that can kindle zero-sum adversarial thinking. The same commitment from you and your spouse will ensure that your divorce is conducted respectfully and ends in a place of mutual dignity and decency.


The author, MaryEllen Linnehan, is a member of Northern Westchester Collaborative Divorce Professionals which is an association of lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals specializing in the collaborative divorce process. If you have questions about collaborative divorce and how this alternative to courtroom litigation can work for you, please contact MaryEllen Linnehan. Contact information can be found by clicking/tapping the author image or the "View Profile" link on this page.


Northern Westchester Collaborative Divorce