The idea of collaborative divorce has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many celebrities have been public about their attempts to divorce amicably with a focus on their children. That has certainly rubbed off on the American public, which now looks into mediation and collaborative divorce in many cases of divorce.
Collaborative divorce is more than just trendy. It can be beneficial for people in very specific circumstances. Unfortunately, too much media hype about the benefits of mediation and collaborative divorce lead people to seek this approach even when it isn't going to benefit their family.
Learning a little bit more about the downfalls of collaborative divorce and mediation can help you make a more informed decision about how you end your marriage. You'll probably make yourself happier by focusing on your own future instead of avoiding conflict at any cost.
Collaborative divorce gives you a false sense of security
When your ex agrees to keep things friendly and to work with you to set the terms for your divorce, that can leave you feeling relatively positive toward them. However, they may hope to control and manipulate you for their own benefit through a collaborative divorce.
If you know that your ex has manipulative tendencies, collaborative divorce or mediation simply won't work. The same is true of spouses leaving an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. Collaborative divorce efforts require mutual respect that simply isn't present in an abusive dynamic.
Even without issues related to abuse, mediation or collaboration can leave you vulnerable. If you think that your spouse agreeing to cooperate with you outside of court means they will treat you fairly, you may not do enough to protect your right during the divorce. That could mean an unfair outcome to anything from the child custody terms to the asset division process.
Collaboration and mediation don't always work
Agreeing to a collaborative divorce isn't some magical silver bullet that will eliminate the conflict between you and your spouse. You are still going to have to find some way to compromise on the issues, come to an agreement and successfully complete mediation. That isn't always possible. There may be one single issue that prevents an agreement, or several.
Even if you do set terms successfully, it is possible that the court will not hold them. Anything from technical issues like a missing signature to content issues could leave the courts to ignore the agreement you reach through a collaborative divorce process. If your terms include anything that violates state law in Colorado, such as making it the responsibility of one spouse to pay child support, the courts will likely choose to set their own terms.
Before you agree to mediation or collaborative divorce with your ex, you really should take the time to discuss your options with a family law attorney. Knowing your options can help you make a more informed decision about ending your marriage.