Control of your divorce

Take Control of Your Divorce

Written By: Jill B. Boynton, CDFA®


Divorce doesn’t have to be drawn-out, court-based, or nasty. It can be respectful, better for the children, supportive, and most importantly tailored to the client through the collaborative divorce process.

I have been working in the field of collaborative divorce for 12 years and can tell you enthusiastically how well this model can work. Couples should consider this alternative dispute method when they decide to divorce.

The brainchild of Stu Webb, an attorney in Minneapolis, collaborative divorce began in 1990. Stu was tired of the adversarial method of litigation and decided to seek out lawyers he could work with to create a settlement instead of working against. Thus, was born an out-of-court model that focuses on collaboration and respect.

Here in NH, we have over 100 lawyers, financial professionals and mental health workers trained in this process. Professionals work as a team (2 lawyers, a financial neutral and a coach/facilitator). The team, sitting at the table with the couple, work together to create a divorce settlement that is personalized to their family.

Collaborative divorce focuses on helping the couple make their own informed decisions. Imagine discussions that are not focused on hurting a spouse, but rather on benefiting the family. Imagine reaching across the table to discuss a parenting plan that is healthy for the family, or discussing the best way to divide accounts that supports a spouse who is going back to work. Imagine a team of professionals, each contributing the knowledge they know best, helping both spouses move forward.

Doing this work requires training in the process, in areas such as interest-based negotiation, enhanced communication and team building skills, introducing clients to collaboration, and ethical considerations. You can find collaboratively trained professionals at www.collaborativelawnh.org.

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