Separation and divorce are, for many, trying and defining events in life. Just as in the grief process for any loss, separation and divorce may involve intense feelings of pain, anger, guilt, sadness, and more. These feelings are hard to avoid in a transition often defined by anger, conflict, betrayal, and financial uncertainty. This is true for children of the marriage as well as adults.
These are very important questions. In the beginning, the experience of separation or divorce may feel overwhelming. In reality, the process can be a series of manageable tasks. It must be remembered that separation or divorce is like many other transitions in life — it can hold the promise of relief, growth, and healing if the right path is taken.
The goal of the Collaborative Process is to help divorcing couples create a good foundation for the future. We strive to help couples take the uncertainty out of their divorce. This is accomplished by having professionals available to assist each spouse in every aspect of the process, by providing flat fees for legal services, and by empowering each person to make sound decisions for themselves and their children. The Collaborative Process is most different than mediation in that each spouse is represented by their own attorney.
Divorce is usually thought of as only a legal process: couples hire lawyers, go to court, and come out with some paperwork that officially ends the marriage in the eyes of the law (even though couples with children know the parenting relationship will continue).
However, there is another option for divorce. In 2003, the Collaborative Process was incorporated in Chapter 50 of the North Carolina General Statutes. In the Collaborative Process, Collaborative Professionals understand that separation or divorce is much more than just a legal process. It is an emotional and financial journey that includes a legal event which is one step along the way. Just as marriage is much more than a “piece of paper,” the process of divorce is far more than simply “signing the final agreement.”
The Collaborative Process helps families identify and manage all aspects of divorce by:
- Working toward a common goal of ending the marriage with dignity.
- Dealing with emotions that may interfere with making good decisions.
- Developing effective communication skills.
- Addressing financial needs of both spouses as well as planning for the future.
- Generating the best options for raising children together in the future.
- Completing the necessary legal steps and paperwork.
- Ensuring children’s needs and wants are given full voice in the process.
- Voluntary and full exchange of relevant information.
- Use of neutral consultants, if applicable, jointly retained by both husband and wife.