The Dos and Don’ts of a Collaborative Divorce

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The Don’ts of a Collaborative Divorce

Divorce litigation is rightly infamous for both its expense and its delays. Now there is an alternative in New Mexico: collaborative divorce. Designed to help divorcing couples avoid the challenges, expense and frustrations of divorce litigation, a collaborative divorce can help them reach lasting solutions with integrity and civility. Below are a few tips to help keep the “collaborative” in your divorce.

• If you have children, don’t drag them into the fight. For the most part, children believe that their parents should be able to work through and solve any issues. They see mom and dad as providers with extra ordinary abilities to handle any situation. Make a point not to talk bad about your spouse in front of your children. Don’t use your kids as a go between or a crutch to lean on. Don’t argue in front of them. If they ask questions, answer them in a neutral, non-judgmental way without giving them details best left to adult ears.

• Don’t change the locks at your house unless your family lawyer tells you to.

• Collaborative divorce is a voluntary option. It only works if both parties agree to be equals. Give your spouse a short summary of why you think using collaboration is a good idea, offer to share the information you have, and then let your spouse chose his or her own family lawyer.

• Don’t try to hide your assets. They always get discovered and it will hurt your credibility. Collaborative means just that!

• If a temporary custody or visitation rights document has been drawn up do not violate the agreement. If a schedule or visitation needs to be revised make sure all parties are aware of the reasons why and accepts the new changes.

Remember, a collaborative divorce is not just a “friendly” divorce. The collaborative process needs both parties to sit at a table and mediate their issues. Mental health professionals may be provided to help you manage your emotions as well as finical advisers to help manage your assets during negotiations. It also provides incentive for all parties concerned to “play nice.” If you leave the negotiation table and you go to court, you will have to start all over again with new lawyers and more legal fees.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn more, please contact PJ Hartman at 505-247-3335 or toll free at 505-247-3335.

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