Options for divorce in Charlottesville, Virginia can include Collaborative Divorce – an alternative to the litigation model commonly recommended to families by the legal community.
Divorce is seldom a cause for celebration, and we would never wish it on you. In fact, it is a very painful process—not only for the children caught in the middle, but also for you as you work to divest yourselves of some very emotional and practical attachments. So when we who practice within the Collaborative Divorce model say that it is a “better way to divorce”, you need to know that we appreciate the dilemmas, the pain, and the ambivalence. However, we also know that the divorce dynamic can be altered—to one of healing past hurts and forging new paths.
The traditional divorce process pits one of you against the other, each supported by an attorney, positioning for the best outcome, with little motivation to care about the welfare of your soon-to-be ex, often while jointly-loved children are caught in the middle. Those of us who work with your children often have the experience of hunkering down with them in some sort of metaphorical “bunker,” waiting for the dust to settle. Ultimately, because this is “war,” and because both sides want things their way, a judge ultimately makes the decision—arbitrarily at times, and certainly without the exquisite knowledge you both have about your children and your financial affairs—and neither of you walks away truly happy or satisfied. Life afterward often is marked by bickering and posturing, with potential repeat trips to Court. Sometimes, mental health professionals are fortunate enough to be invited to help your two-family homes work together, parent together—but the damage is done and truces are hard-won.
The Collaborative Divorce process is a dramatically different experience. Imagine a round table instead of a Courtroom, several “business meetings” of sorts around the table, with a team of supports providing a safe container within which the two of you—still partners, but moving toward a “new” kind of relationship—are able to communicate your needs, interests, and desires for the future for your children and your lives. Imagine a process where the whole is, indeed, greater than the sum of its parts: where attention to everyone’s needs means you both give a little for the greater Good—which primarily is the health and well-being of your children, and of your relationship moving forward. We don’t mean for it to sound idyllic—it certainly can be hard work—the fact is that it is work to forge a new, different, and healthier relationship, rather than a fight to the death, as in the prior and more common scenario.
Your collaborative team, consisting of your specially-trained attorneys, a mental health professional, and a financial specialist, is well aware that you will continue to have a life of association after the papers are signed. We are therefore strongly committed to “tooling you up” so that you have an ongoing partnership that can function to raise your children and address the lingering decisions that need to be made going forward. You can be business partners—you may even be friends.
Before you and your spouse or partner “lawyer up,” please consider reaching out to me for a joint appointment to learn more about this process toward a kinder and gentler divorce. You and your children will appreciate your care of them and of yourselves.