Couples going through a separation may think that because there is so much conflict in their relationship, Collaborative Practice will not work as a dispute resolution process and traditional litigation will be their only option. Collaborative Practice can be particularly beneficial where the level of acrimony is very high.
This is because certain aspects of the process can improve communication. Instead of fighting endlessly over every problem in their marriage, often the same issues over and over, Collaborative Practice creates the opportunity to talk about these issues in a way that permits both sides to sit and listen to the other parties point of view and to be heard in a different way. Here are some of the most basic features of a Collaborative Practice:
· The process can allow for improved communication: The goal of litigation is to win, not to communicate more effectively with your former spouse. In Collaborative Practice, there are greater levels of discussion between the parties as to what is most important for them and why. Eventually, all the agreements reached will be written into a legally binding document anyway. In Collaborative Practice the strong feelings both sides may have are acknowledged and are not swept under the carpet to reach an agreement .
· Collaborative Practice is about moving forward, not placing blame for past mistakes: There is a focus on the goal of the process to figure out how both sides can achieve a durable outcome that best enables the parties to move on with their lives. Those couples who have had an extremely difficult marriage or breakup do not need to agree on who was most at fault for the failure of the relationship. All they need to agree on is a set of terms that each can accept from his or her own individual unique perspective. It helps if both parties have the desire to move forward as painlessly as possible without spending tens of thousands of dollars and years in court fighting a bitter litigation battle.
Collaborative Practice may not work for those who want to follow a "scorched earth" policy: There are some individuals who are so bitter about their failed relationship that they are more invested in trying to stop their former spouses from being happy than in their own future happiness. Given that the collaborative process is about reaching agreements that both sides can live with, if one party's priority is simply to make the other miserable, the collaborative process is unlikely to be successful.
If you have separated, and you don't consider yourself to be following a “scorched earth” policy you should consider using Collaborative Practice before resorting to litigation. It can save you and your former partner a lot of time and money, and you both may even end the process on better terms than you were when you separated.