Acrimony versus Cooperation
If you think your divorce can only be resolved through an all out battle, you’re making one of two mistakes:
- First, you’re buying into the myth that divorce has a winner and a loser;
- Second, you think that divorce is fair, that it’ll all come out in the wash, that the courts will do what’s best for you and your child.
Let’s take care of the first myth: There’s no such thing as a winner in divorce. You’ll both be losers. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not you want your kids to be losers too.
As for the fairness and equanimity of the family court system, you’re in for a mighty big surprise. The system is not fair. It is over-burdened, abused and sadly lacking in good judgement.
The alternative is to accept responsibility for the job of making your kids’ lives work. That means cooperation.
That usually means mediation or collaboration. Mediation provides a confidential, non-adversarial process through which divorcing spouses can negotiate their own settlement with the aid of an impartial third party. A Collaborative Divorce is one in which a whole team of helpers work with you to keep your divorce out of court.
Non-adversarial does not mean “No conflict.” The end of any significant relationship involves such intense emotional turmoil that it is difficult for two individuals to resolve issues fairly without professional assistance. But a commitment to cooperation does mean you are committed to working together to come to a fair and equitable agreement.
This beats the pants of the traditionally adversarial legal system when you are pitted against your STBE (soon-to-be-ex), and you each try to squeeze, bully, coerce the best possible deal for yourself through your “mouthpieces”. In a legal tug of war, your children may be pulled into the muddy puddle — and them thar emotional stains just don’t come out. Top that with the fact that your family assets can be significantly diminished as the fight drags on.
Since you and your STBE must continue to be parents together even as you separate, creating a cooperative process through mediation or collaboration makes good sense.