Minimize harm and maximize your well being.

 By choosing to divorce with respect and integrity, outside of the adversarial court system, you give yourself the best chance of having a healthy, smooth, and affordable divorce.

here is why you will appreciate a cooperative approach to divorce

Because you and your spouse voluntarily choose a cooperative approach, with the express intent to resolve issues yourselves instead of relying on the adversarial court process, cooperative divorces are much less disruptive and usually resolve more quickly.

Several important benefits

usually less costly

Though the length and complexity of each case (and therefore its overall cost) is dependent on the specific facts and temperaments of the parties, there are a couple of concrete ways that cooperative approaches tend to greatly decrease the cost of a divorce.

First, voluntary disclosure of information. Rather than strategically withholding information or gaming the court rules in anticipation of trial, you agree to openly exchange information and problem-solve in good faith. This saves a lot of time and money in legal fees.

Second, joint specialists. Cooperative approaches allow you to jointly hire any specialists needed (i.e., financial planner, child specialist, etc.), and to jointly benefit from and make use of their expertise. This significantly cuts down on expenses. In litigation, you each hire your own experts to compete with each other in court. 

win-win is possible

The traditional (litigation) approach to divorce settlement is based on the distributive negotiation model, i.e., the rigid idea that the "things/resources/rights" to be agreed upon are fixed and finite, and therefore, one spouse's gain is the other spouse's loss. This results in parties taking unreasonable and harmful negotiating positions to try to maximize their piece of the pie.

Cooperative approaches favor interest-based negotiation and problem solving, which looks beyond those rigid positions to find your true interests, see where those interests can align, and come up with creative solutions and win-win agreements. 

greater range of possible outcomes

The interest-based approach gives you a lot flexibility and creativity to craft a resolution that works best for your life. Let's take the example of spousal support. If one party takes the rigid position that they must have X dollars in support, there's only one way to satisfy that position: by paying X dollars.

On the other hand, if you look to the interests underlying that position (e.g., the interests of affording a comfortable home, paying bills, affording your children's school activities, etc.), it becomes clear that there are a variety of ways those needs can be met. This allows you to be creative in problem solving the best way to meet those needs, rather than blindly relying on spousal support as a proxy.

constructive use v. escalation of conflict

While "cooperative" does not mean "conflict-free," cooperative approaches encourage you to act from your best self, with respect and integrity. Doing so lets you avoid creating unnecessary conflict and lets you deal with any existing conflict constructively.

Litigation, on the other hand, tends to bring out the worst in people, which usually escalates the level of conflict. 

emotional healing

Litigation operates behind the facade of the legal system: rationality, logic, fairness and "legal rights." The reality is that by hiding behind this facade, you are not allowed or encouraged to constructively deal with your emotions about the situation. As a result, litigation has a strong tendency to reinforce your worst behaviors, often causing people to act out of feelings of fear, anger, betrayal, revenge and scarcity. This is a recipe for emotional disaster.

Cooperative approaches provide opportunities to address emotions to whatever degree is necessary for your situation. Because cooperative approaches are mainly outside the court process, you have the control and flexibility to address the emotional aspects of your divorce as you see fit, with the level of support in doing so that is right for you. Ultimately, cooperative approaches allow you to begin the work of healing emotionally while you also do the work of moving on practically and legally.

For more about the role of emotional healing in divorce, read the Philosophy underlying my approach to divorce and transition. Learn More →

If these advantages appeal to you, schedule a consultation today.