Collaborative Divorce is the Smart Choice

Collaborative Divorce: Capitalizing on Specialization for Better Results

If you’ve been to the doctor recently and paused for a moment at the building directory, you may see, in one glance, the great variety of specializations in medicine. In fact, since the nineteenth century, specializing has been considered the smartest way to become an expert in medicine and to tackle more cases (since specialists could give speedy advice thanks to lots of intense—rather than broad—experience).

This model has been adapted everywhere from car assembly lines to mass-producing pastry kitchens.

But can it work for divorce with all its complicated emotions and legal, financial and psychological entanglements?

This week I sat down with Anne-Louise DePalo and discussed a smarter way to tackle the divorce process. DePalo is an attorney in Staten Island. She’s been practicing divorce and family law for over 30 years, and she’s the author of the book, Divorce Now What?  How to Survive, Thrive and Become Fully Alive Through the Divorce Process. She wrote the book to show people that they have options in divorce. It isn’t just litigation and conflict.

Collaborative Divorce: Definition

We’re used to the Hollywood image of divorce—screaming lawyers and sobbing clients. Or maybe we think divorce has evolved to a couple emails between our lawyers and a decree stating whether we won or lost. Collaborative is neither of these things. Collaborative divorce is a process in which both parties agree to negotiate the divorce through group meeting with assistance from custody evaluators, appraisers, accountants or other professionals who can weigh in on the status of family members or shared property, investments or businesses.

Working with Experts

DePalo enjoys working with the full range of experts she teams with on collaborative divorce cases. She enjoys the flexibility, “the interdisciplinary way you can bring in experts and try to figure out what information, what support is needed, what they need to get through the process, but then to have a foundation for their lives after divorce” is what drives her. She believes the process of divorce can be a launchpad to happiness after the divorce.

What’s so Powerful

The most amazing thing about collaborative divorce is that the process itself prepares participants for life after divorce. It can be a learning experience—about yourself and about relationships—that you carry with you in the days and years after the divorce. The breadth of expertise and experience that the team you assemble for collaborative divorce means that you have a network of experts to consult about, say, finances or child development, even beyond the divorce.

Our first reaction to divorce may be feeling like we’ve reached an ending. We may mourn that and feel like we’ve failed. But there’s another perspective. Collaborative divorce helps us see it as a process that we continue to learn from and feel proud of.

If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.