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Self reflection & mutual trust go far in a collaborative divorce

When you and your spouse agree to resolve your divorce through collaborative law, you, your spouse and each of your attorneys sign a binding document agreeing not to go to court. Perhaps when you made that decision, you did not have full information that only came to your attention during the divorce process. When you find yourself in such a situation, what are your options?

In collaborative divorce, you and your spouse each have your own attorney. However, one of the conditions included in the contract signed by you both is that you will not go to court. If you are unable to reach a settlement, you will each need to find different representation and start over again in order to proceed in court. Any experts employed in a collaborative setting must be neutral, so if things fall apart, you will each need to find new accountants, appraisers, counselors, or social workers as experts at trial. For this reason, you should enter a collaborative setting with some self-reflection and planning.

Resolving roadblocks in a collaborative setting

Collaborative divorce requires couples to treat each other with honesty, respect and reasonableness in order to come to a peaceful resolution as you end the marriage. Before the process begins, you should think deeply about the needs of you and your children at present and in the future. All parties should participate in setting ground rules for communication and disclosure. These ground rules draw the boundaries for meetings you will have with your spouse and attorneys. Both you and your spouse should agree to devote adequate time for meetings and arrive fully prepared, and to fully disclose information. Ask your attorney if language can be included in the agreement that would invalidate a settlement if full financial disclosure is not made, or other issues of concern you may have.

Most importantly, before agreeing to the collaborative process, you should think about the promises that you are realistically capable of giving and your ability to follow through. Evaluate your partner’s track record of following through on their word, and what you can expect from them under stress. There should be some level of trust between the two of you for an effective negotiation process to take place in good faith.

Dedication by both partners is necessary through the end

In order for collaborative divorce to work, you and your spouse need to commit to transforming your relationship into something new. Growth should be the goal. Particularly when you have children, this is of utmost importance, because your marriage is over, but the two of you will be coparents forever. With strong ground rules and commitment to coming to a mutually respectful resolution, if new information is revealed during the process, you can still work it out and reach a successful settlement.

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Gibbs Divorce Mediation

505 S. Villa Real Dr.
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Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-922-0111
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