Divorce can be an expensive process. On an ever-increasing basis, especially since the downturn in the economy and it's painfully slow climb out of the depths, I see families coming into my office to discuss divorce when their financial troubles are so overwhelming that I simply cannot ignore their situation.
It used to be that children of divorcing parents were under increased levels of stress because of the upheavals in their family units, no matter how dysfunctional they had become, and the thought of living in two different homes, only spending time with each parent on a limited basis. In the past decade, however, children have become acutely aware of the financial burdens their parents face, which only adds to the anxiety of divorce for them.
“Will my dad be able to afford to buy a new house when he moves out?”
“Will my mom be able to pay the bills all on her own?”
These are heartbreaking questions for children to have to be struggling with. But how does Collaborative Divorce help divorcing families who are already struggling to pay bills? Isn't Collaborative Divorce one of the more expensive forms of divorce available?
These are also common questions, but with far more hopeful answers.The truth is that collaborative divorces are far more cost effective and less time consuming than a typical, adversarial divorce.
A typical collaborative divorce consists of a group of team members aligned to bring about a peaceful transition for the entire family into the new roles that each of them will play. Finances are addressed, as are the psychological needs of the children and each of the parents. Oftentimes, when children take part in the process, they achieve a feeling of empowerment and see their parents working together confidently. This picture of their parents, working together in a capable manner, allows children to suffer less anxiety, less sorrow and generally contributes to a growing sense of resiliency. The feeling that their parents have things under control, allows children to be children and address the concerns that every child goes through with a divorce, freeing them from the financial worries that no child should have to bear.
Children of parents who proceed through a collaborative divorce are also less likely to witness destructive acts of the parents towards each other, as each party is responsible for working through issues together. There is often less animosity between the parents, allowing for an increased sense of well-being for every one of the participants, but especially the children. This also results in a future of mutual respect, allowing parents to more effectively co-parent the children.
In the end, if parents can commit to the guidelines of a collaborative divorce, they will be surprised to see that the process is far less costly, and far more ‘healing' than a typical, adversarial divorce. The thought of maintaining a relationship with an ex-wife or ex-husband is troublesome for most, but once everyone is on the same page and recognizes that it is in the best interests of the children that everyone remain amicable, both spouses are often more willing to be understanding and work towards the good of their kids.