Orlando Divorce – Can Collaborating Save Your “Life”?
Orlando Divorce Lawyers – Collaborative Divorce
Collaboration Can Save Lives. That’s what the billboard read. Our Orlando Health Heart
Institute is celebrating Heart Health Awareness Month and this is one of its slogans.
This catch-phrase is referring to the power of collaboration between medical professionals
and doctors and patients – a life-saving dynamic.
When I saw the slogan, I instantly thought of collaborative divorce. While the choice to
use this non-litigated settlement process instead of litigation may not be a choice of
life over death, I contemplated how collaborative divorce could save lives in the
For those of you new to the subject of collaborative divorce, it is an alternative to
litigation in which both spouses contractually commit to respectful, constructive
communication. They commit to taking transparent and constructive action to reach a
mutually agreeable resolution. The couple is assisted and encouraged by a team of
collaboratively trained professionals consisting of their lawyers, a neutral mental health
professional and a neutral financial planner. During this process, the groundwork can be
laid for successful and constructive co-parenting.
How, you may ask could this possibly save my metaphorical life or the metaphorical life of
my children, let alone the metaphorical life of my soon-to-be ex-spouse? Furthermore, why
would I even want to make things easier on my spouse?
If you have minor children and are divorcing, you are going to be co-parenting with your
spouse until the youngest of your children reaches age 18, or in some cases, longer. You
will follow a parenting plan that either you negotiated together or one that the court has
created for you. You will continue forward as a restructured family. The manner in which
you and your spouse deal with the new situation can have far-reaching implications for
According to Bill Eddy, a well-respected lawyer, licensed clinical social worker, and
co-founder of the High Conflict Institute, the average age of children living in
conflicted arrangements is becoming increasingly younger.1 Because of this, children are
experiencing not only less stability in their young lives, but also greater exposure to
parents in conflict or suffering the loss of contact with one parent.2 Borderline and
narcissistic personality disorders while affecting 10% of the U.S. population, affects
about 15% of young adults ages 20 through 29.3 One of the causes of these disorders is
instability in early childhood.4 Stability is necessary for children to develop
relationship skills, confidence and the ability to cope with life challenges.5
Creating stability for your children after divorce is crucial for their development into
adulthood. Children model the behavior of their adult caretakers and carry these
behaviors, including relationship skills, into their grown-up lives.
The collaborative process fosters open and constructive communication between the spouses.
In addition, through the help of the neutral mental health professional (MHP), the
spouses can begin to learn how to effectively co-parent while living separately. Quite
often these parents will continue on as a parenting team attending co-parenting counseling
sessions with the MHP.
What better way to create stability for your child than to have a constructive, civil
relationship with their other parent? By cooperating and effectively communicating with
your ex-spouse you are not only providing crucial modeling behavior for your children
(they will emulate your behavior), but also you are creating an environment of harmony and
function for them.
The wonderful side effect of this is that because you now are communicating in a more
effective way with your spouse, you are not engaging in what I see all too often: the
useless expenditure life force spent over battling your ex.
Please consider the collaborative process for your divorce. A new life awaits you, your
children and your spouse after your divorce. Collaboration can “save” lives. You can
“save” the lives of your children.
1 Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. Marriage is Declining Rapidly! Does it Matter? available at http://www.highconflictinstitute.com/articles/parenting-a-divorce-articles/78-hci-articles/published-articles/130-marriage-is-declining-rapidly-does-it-matter
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Kiki Grossman is a family law attorney with the Winter Garden Florida law firm of Grossman & Grossman P.A. She holds a Master of Laws degree from the #1 ranked dispute resolution program in the United States, The Straus Institute at Pepperdine University School of Law. You can learn more about Kiki by visiting the Grossman & Grossman P.A. website