(HARTFORD, CT)- May 23, 2012– May is one of the busiest months of the year for weddings. However, statistics show that nearly half of all those new unions will ultimately end in divorce. Connecticut Collaborative Divorce Group is an organization committed to dissolving marriages without the destruction and dirt. In fact, beyond attorneys, the organization is comprised of financial planners and psychologists, present to ensure the process is fair and amicable, every step of the way.
To be sure, collaborative divorce is the new kid on the block. Up until about ten years ago, divorces typically followed a traditional adversarial route. Prior to collaboration, the only non-adversarial option was mediation. In collaborative divorce, the parties engage in a voluntary non-dispute resolution process, absent of litigation. It is the mission of both attorneys to resolve issues through negotiation keeping proceedings out of court. Fittingly, this approach is often referred to as divorce with dignity.
“Most people do not want to fight. Everyone hears about the horror stories of an adversarial divorce. They have friends who have been through it,” said Collaborative Divorce Attorney Robert B. Fried. “Collaborative Divorce removes so much of the ugliness from the process and certainly reduces stress and cost.”
Connecticut is definitely on the map for litigating some of the messiest divorces ever. A few years ago, Connecticut witnessed the longest divorce trial in the country: 86 days, $13,000,000 and allegations of rape, pornography, sexual abuse and alcoholism.
Beyond decreasing hostility between the divorcing parties, collaborative divorce also helps ease the pain for the entire family. Specifically, a mental health professional is actively involved in the entire process. Not be confused with “couple’s therapy,” in collaborative divorce the mental health professional is more of a coach responsible for maintaining a calm and respectful tone during team meetings. Generally, the coach’s primary concern is always the well-being of the children, and working with divorcing families to ensure that their children’s needs will be carefully considered and addressed through the decision-making process.
“Divorce is arguably one of the most difficult times in any person’s life. Important decisions need to be made by people who feel hurt, angry, sad, and frightened,” said Collaborative Divorce Coach Abby Cole. “If a coach can help to manage those feelings, then decision-making will unfold in a smoother and less destructive manner.”
The cost to marry can be as little as the purchase of a marriage-license; however, divorce is much pricier emotionally and financially. That’s why the collaborative divorce process doesn’t only include a coach, but also a financial professional. The financial professional assists with the financial aspects of the divorce. For instance, this person aids in the collection of data, formatting of the data, helping with the financial affidavit, budgets, division of property, child support, and any other financial aspects.
“As the financial professional and as a neutral party in the collaboration, I am really not advising as that’s the attorneys’ job,” said Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ™ Edward M. Goldberg. “That said, when functioning as a neutral in a collaborative divorce, I am not merely ‘neutral’, I am also objective. I think the fact that a couple is working with an objective neutral gives them a sense of comfort that I am not taking sides.”
While the interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce process remains a rather new concept in Connecticut, it is most certainly a viable choice for many couples.
“If you want to resolve your marital issues respectfully, protect your children and maintain control of the divorce and its costs, then collaborative divorce is a process you should consider,” concludes Fried.
The Connecticut Collaborative Divorce Group is a group of experienced divorce professionals, including divorce and family lawyers, financial and mental health professionals, who have been specifically trained in the collaborative process. Each member of the group has made a commitment to the goals of collaborative practice in order to help people achieve fair and lasting settlements without using the court or even the threat of court. Additionally, each member attends regular meetings and training sessions designed to develop and enhance their collaborative divorce skills.
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