A common reason why some Washington couples find themselves in family court working through a divorce is an acknowledged lack of communication. Perhaps it’s too much to expect that a couple who could not get along during marriage will suddenly find the magic formula to be able to discuss and resolve areas of disagreement, but that’s exactly what a collaborative divorce requires. If the two can put aside their differences long enough to look at the bigger picture, they may find that there are immediate and significant advantages.
No matter how well or how poorly a couple goes about resolving the end of marriage issues, they must be resolved. Property division, child custody and support, and alimony or spousal support where appropriate are legal matters within the family court’s jurisdiction. Legal commentators emphasize that not only is a litigated divorce more costly in terms of legal fees, but a judge’s imposition of a final order on the contested issues is often unsatisfactory to both parties. When people have a say in the outcome, as they do when collaboratively coming to a resolution, they are much more likely to be satisfied with the results.
To work collaboratively may not be an intuitive response, but it can be accomplished with some effort. It’s important to be respectful of everyone’s feelings, realize that things will be different and remember that no one will get everything they want. Parents should make sure the children’s voices are heard and encourage the making of new memories and traditions. It’s best if the inevitable transition occurs as harmoniously as possible.
The collaborative divorce process may also involve professionals who can offer expertise, advice and objective perspectives. A financial adviser, a family and marriage counselor and an experienced family law attorney may all be instrumental in making the divorce easier for parents and their children.