There are many reasons to opt for a Collaborative Divorce if you must divorce.
One of the rarely considered reasons is how having a Collaborative Divorce will help you in a second or subsequent marriage. I recently had lunch with someone who is contemplating remarrying, and that person said, “Why must it (a subsequent marriage) so complicated?” They were talking about the complications of marrying someone who has a previous spouse and children from that previous marriage.
There is no debate that a second or subsequent marriage IS complicated.
Just watch the movie, “It’s Complicated” to see some of the issues highlighted. Why do people take that dive into an even more complicated relationship? I have kept in contact with many of the clients that I have taken care of in divorce, and what I hear from many of them is that the second time around is better because of the lessons they learned from their previous marriage and divorce.
If clients divorce in the traditional litigation process, they typically learn how to fight, how to dig up and publicly air as much as they can to paint their spouse in a bad light, and sadly, they learn how to show their children how to fight. This often leaves lifetime emotional scars on their children and emotional scars on their own hearts. So, what does learning all these lessons learned about fighting do for their ability to be successful in their second or subsequent marriage? I would submit to you that it teaches them how to fail in their second marriage, too.
The clients that I have who go through the Collaborative Divorce process learn lots of great lessons and acquire lots of tools that they use not only in having a more peaceful divorce but also in their future lives.
They learn how to use “I” statements when airing their issues rather than always blaming the other side for the issues. They learn how to listen to their partner, really listen, rather than just planning what their defensive response will be. They learn how to teach their children how to resolve conflict peacefully, even if it isn’t easy. They learn how to budget, something a surprising number of people do not know how to do. They learn how to develop a successful Parenting Plan, a Co-Parenting Plan, and together their develop techniques to implement that plan not just for the day after the divorce but through the rest of their children’s (and grandchildren’s) lives. They learn how to communicate with their Co-Parent so that, as one colleague puts it, they can share the events in their children’s lives, and so their children will have butterflies at a piano concert for the right reason–not for their concern that their parents will make a scene or because of the tension between them.
And one of the most important lessons that Collaborative Divorce clients learn is how to manage themselves in resolving conflict, which serves them not only in their divorce but in any subsequent relationship or marriage.
Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed therapist, non-fiction writer, and college instructor with specialties in divorce, children, and families. She is a sought after speaker who frequently offers her commentary on divorce and her research on daughters of divorce. Here is a recent article she wrote, called “8 Keys to Success in a Remarriage.” She has personally lived through remarriage and raising a family.
It warms my heart to talk to catch up with former clients at lunch or when they come in to work on a Collaborative Process Pre-Marital Agreement, and I hear that the lessons they learned from their Collaborative Divorce have helped make their second or subsequent marriage a success. After listening to heartbreaking stories all day long in my family law practice, it is so refreshing to hear that Happily Ever Afters can really happen even after a divorce and how the Collaborative Divorce Process helps that happen.
If you or someone you know is considering divorce or a pre-marital agreement, please suggest that they talk to me or another attorney trained and experienced in Collaborative Divorce.