Many Maryland couples are interested in pursuing a collaborative divorce. This family law approach offers participants a way to remove much of the tension and negativity that accompanies many divorce cases, and instead focuses on applying problem solving techniques to reach an outcome that works for both sides. In many ways, collaboration results in a "kinder, gentler" divorce experience. For spouses who will remain connected through their role as co-parents, this is a great way to transition from one role into another.
When parents work together and place the needs of their shared children at the forefront of their new relationship, everyone benefits. Kids receive the full focus of the attention of two loving parents, and the parents themselves are often able to set aside their own emotional reaction to the end of the marriage and form a more productive and healthy bond. It should be noted that the results of collaboration are different for every family, and no two relationships between divorced parents will look or feel the same.
Collaboration, however, offers all families the chance to refocus their efforts on their children. An example might be the need to discuss college expenses during a divorce, which is an area not often explored. Most children will be legal adults by the time that they head off to college, and neither parent will have an obligation to assist with the cost of their education. That said, many parents want to help their children attain a college degree, but are unsure how much support to expect from the other parent. Addressing this during the collaborative process can give both sides an idea of what to expect, and can pave the way for future co-parenting tasks.
Pennsylvania is currently considering family law legislation aimed at promoting the collaborative method of divorce. The bill would prohibit attorneys who designate themselves as collaborative divorce professionals from assisting their clients further in the event that collaboration falls short of the goal. The bill is intended to give attorneys the motivation to promote and support the collaborative process. Should similar legislation be set into motion across the nation, collaboration could change the way that the public in Maryland and elsewhere perceives divorce.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Divorcing? Dial it down", Debra Denison Cantor and Ann V. Levin, July 5, 2015