It happens. The happily ever after leaves. A change the format of the family enters. Divorce is legal, and it is also financial and emotional. You have options. One route is to engage in a litigious divorce which only elevates the hostility. And, it leaves the dialog and the resolution in the hands of others: the attorneys and perhaps the judge.

There is another option: collaborative divorce. You entered the marriage in a team, and you can leave it as team as well. Collaborative divorce is a process where the parties and their respective attorneys work together with the sole goal of reaching an efficient, fair, comprehensive agreement. A team is established to include a neutral financial professional and a facilitator. This team assists and supports the parties as problem-solvers not adversaries.

Hearings and trials are eliminated as settlement is the only agenda. Informal discussions and conferences attended by both parties and the professionals creates an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity, transparency, and professionalism. All agreements are reached in settlement meetings with the parties guiding their own destiny. The parties must be open and exchange information freely; the team pledges to reach an out-of-court settlement and not to litigate. Emphasis is on goals and solutions. When there are children involved, which is so often the case, the facilitator who is experienced in developing parenting plans walks the parties through the steps looking at each child.

Divorce is difficult…It can be a time to carefully uncouple. It is the time for parties to look inward and forward for themselves and those in their circle. Time to move on.