It is likely that you either have a friend or a family member who experienced a divorce and barely exchange their children without a fight. You go through life saying that will never be your situation. Then you are sitting at the table having “that” conversation with your spouse. A divorce is now imminent. How do you make sure that your family dynamic does not rip apart at the seam? The divorce process is known to destroy the family dynamic through mudslinging, positional bargaining, and refusal to compromise with each other. To start the process the other party has to be served. It seems odd to have a third party go to your spouse and hand them papers stating that you want to end the life you built together.
As the Discovery process starts, you will find yourself answering meddlesome, private and probing questions, producing private documents, and feeling interrogated during depositions. During Trial, you may likely feel nervous, scared, and hesitant to answer questions on the witness stand. At the conclusion of the case, you will anxiously await a Judgment entered by an individual who doesn’t know anything about your family. The end result will generally leave both parties feeling violated, sad, and angry.
If the above process sounds like a nightmare, then you are not alone. A procedure known as a Collaborative Divorce is available to anyone who will like to bypass the contentious litigated divorce process and, instead, aim to reach an amicable and practical settlement agreement resulting in a non-contested divorce. To get started, both parties must have a desire to use this process. Both parties must agree to compromise, act ethically, show respect for one another, focus on the future, negotiate in good faith, and, among other things, cooperate to prepare a comprehensive settlement agreement.
If successful, the benefits of doing the Collaborative Divorce process will allow each party to make choices in a safe and private environment that will work for your family because after all, you are the expert of your family, not the professionals. At the conclusion, you should find yourself feeling satisfied, ready to move forward, and maintain a desire to co-parent, cooperate, and continue the family dynamic for the sake of your children. In spite of everything, it really is about your family and how you can move forward. With the tools and ability to co-parent, this allows for minor issues that come up as time goes on to be settled by the family without having to involve the court for modifications to the Judgment. Choosing a Collaborative Divorce will not only help you bypass the often nasty, litigated divorce process, but it will also help alleviate many of the future issues that may arise years after a divorce has concluded.
Overall, a Collaborative Divorce puts both parties in the driver seat of their own divorce. It puts the decisions for the family back in the hands of the family, with tools and assistance from coaches and advisors to not just help make decisions now, but also help with the difficult decisions to come.
Kelly Davidzuk is a Regional Team Leader managing the St. Charles, Troy, Lee's Summit and Kansas City (by appointment only) offices of the firm. To help out families with their legal needs, Kelly is also a trained mediator and collaborative law attorney. Kelly earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia.
Kelly has received many awards for her diligent experience in Family Law over the years, including: The National Advocates - Top 40 Under 40 in Missouri, 2015 – Present, AVVO Superb Rating, 2015-Present, 10 Best Family Law Attorney in Missouri for Client Satisfaction, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2016, Lead Counsel Rated for Family Law, Lead Counsel, 2016, 10 Best Female Family Law Attorneys in the State of Missouri, American Institute of Legal Counsel, 2016 and Top 10 Family Law Attorneys Under 40 in Missouri, National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, 2016.
Note: The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Kelly Davidzuk is responsible for the content. Principal place of business 120 South Central Ave, Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105.