When many people think of divorce, the vision of courtrooms, fighting, hurt feelings and financial strain often coincide leading many people to believe that it has to be ugly to get through it. For thousands of couples, this is most definitely the case at hand. For individuals hoping to avoid the fighting and stress associated with the separation collaborative divorce can be a viable option.
If youre hoping to avoid an ugly divorce, here are five conversations you need to have with your ex.
Are we able to work together to decide whats best for our children?
Too often, children become pawns in a divorce using access and custody as a leverage while doling through hurt and mistrust. Its never in a childs best interest to be torn in multiple directions especially if they feel they have to choose a parent in the process. Ask your partner if coming up with a mutually agreeable decision is going to be possible.
Can you consider the needs of your partner as equal to your own?
While its important to keep your own wants and needs in view, being able to consider your exs opinion during a collaborative divorce is important too if you want to keep things progressing smoothly. Determine truthfully, if you and your partner can set differences aside to come up with a mutual goal of separating.
How will parenting responsibilities be shared between homes?
While the access and custody issues are likely to be determined over multiple conversations, its important to determine who will take on responsibilities for the children between the homes. If one parent would prefer to manage school issues (like registration, after-school programs, overall development) and the other doctor visits write that down. Keep track of any ongoing needs, like day-to-day functioning too.
How will we divide the property, accounts and debts we incurred while married?
Many couples simple allow the judge to distribute the debts and assets in a relationship, but collaborative divorce is about maintaining and deciding what happens. See if there are debts you can evenly split between you, or if perhaps its easier to divide everything down the middle.
Can we effectively communicate issues while parenting? How should we communicate moving forward?
Its important to consider whether your partner is open to ongoing communication, especially if he or she is involved in raising the children. While communication doesnt have to be on a friendship level, it does have to remain positive and respectful (especially in front of the children).
If there are ongoing issues with communicating with each other, consider another method that doesnt require direct contact. Text messaging, email or a private book that travels between the homes are all effective solutions especially if there is concern about mixed messages. Make sure these communication techniques are discussed in advance, so everyone understands whats expected of them and how to move forward as seamlessly as possible.