Domestic Diversions

Collaborative Divorce: Investing in cooperation now brings less fights for parents later

The Traverse City Record-Eagle introduces the concept of the gentler divorce through Collaborative Divorce to our neighbors to the north.

Vanessa McCray writes (excerpt):
But feelings and the family’s future are not to be overlooked. Divorce is a “devastating and emotionally intense time, even if you’ve chosen to use this model,” she said. Franseen acts as a divorce coach who instructs the couple on how to “manage their emotions” so that important decisions can be made. That’s a difficult task for a pair who wants to part.

“Communication skills are a big one, and that is tricky,” she said. “Probably, if a couple had really good communication skills in the first place, then they might not be getting divorced.”

Crafting a settlement together can prevent later disagreements over terms such as a child’s health care or parenting time, experts said. The collaborative method emphasizes that “the family isn’t a failure” and that the divorced couple can still co-parent “as a success,” said psychologist and child expert Ann Marie Love of Traverse City. Her role can be to advocate for the child, help resolve disputes and advise on how to transition from married to single life.


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