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Collaborative divorce can help avoid emotional pitfalls

Washington couples thinking about divorce may have heard all of the horror stories about long, drawn-out court battles, hidden assets and destructive fights. While divorce often carries serious financial and emotional consequences, not every marriage that ends needs to be accompanied by the harshest legal tactics and financial conflicts. Many partners benefit from a collaborative approach to divorce, which aims to minimize damage to all parties while also protecting their legal rights.

Collaborative divorce allows both spouses to work together with their attorneys to reach a solution. There are several steps that people can take to move their divorce in a more collaborative direction and avoid serious conflicts that can be both expensive and emotionally damaging. One first step is to review the history of the marriage and how both parties engaged in arguments. The same problems that affected arguments during marriage may affect the divorce process. Identifying these problems can help to avoid unnecessary conflict, a particularly important step when children are involved and a co-parenting relationship is necessary.

Because the parties in a divorce know each other extremely well, they may be able to see warning signs that the other spouse is becoming very angry. It might be tempting to push further, especially if there is significant emotional pain as part of the separation. However, choosing to pull back instead can be far more productive. Stepping away from a potential serious argument at a mediation or settlement conference can allow the discussions to resume without being derailed.

By working with a family law attorney, a divorcing spouse can protect themselves and work toward a favorable outcome. An attorney can discuss issues with the other party's attorney, allowing negotiations to proceed on a legal rather than an emotional level.

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