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As summer approaches, the opportunity to enjoy family gatherings increases, but for those who have had their romance fade or worse yet seen love turn to hate through divorce, it can be a painful time. When going through a divorce, the relationship which at one point started as a “dizzy dancing fairy tale coming true” has somehow become an illusion leaving you wondering if you ever did know love.

Ending the relationship is not as simple as just “leaving them laughing as you go.” Rarely is there laughing. There can be a lot of feelings – anger, pain, confusion, relief, sadness, even hate which can be very intense. When ending a marriage, you cannot just walk away. There is the legal “marriage” that must be undone and the legal process that must be gone though to undo the marriage. However, when there are children involved, even after you end the marriage, you will both continue to be parents of the same children for the rest of their lives. How you will see each other; perhaps often, or even if only minimally, at the most important times in their lives. How you go about ending your marriage can determine how your divorce will affect you and your children, not just in the next few years, but for the rest of your lives, your children’s lives, and even your grand children’s lives.

I recall in law school as we approached graduation several students dreading graduation because their longtime divorced parents were both going to attend but could not be in the same room with each other. So rather than planning their graduation celebration, they were planning how to keep their parents apart and generally dreading the whole event.

When mediating between parents, I tell them while you are ending one relationship, the romantic life partnership, you are also starting a new relationship. This new relationship should be approached as a business relationship, the business of being parents and raising your children. In that relationship you will continue to be partners. So rather than looking at the parenting plan as an agreement as to how you will divide the children, look at it as a business agreement as to how you will proceed in the future as partners in this new business of being parents and raising your children while living separate lives.

The legal system is a good alternative to dueling when it comes to settling disputes and dividing things up, but it is traditionally adversarial. An adversarial process can work well to end something but it can sometimes, as in dueling, result in one if not both parties ending up dead in a financial or emotional sense. The nature of the process often, not only perpetuates, but feeds all the negative feelings. As it progresses it can make the rift between the parties even deeper as it digs deeper into the party’s pocketbooks. All this makes starting a new partnership difficult if not impossible. This can result in the parties ending up in the situation of my law school class mate’s parents. It is often hard to think that far into the future when you are in the middle of a crisis, but even after custody, visitation, and child support orders are no longer applicable, there will be graduations, weddings, grand kids and grand kid’s birthday parties. If the ex-spouses are not able to build the new relationship, all these will be miserable for everyone.

Collaborative divorce is a process in which you can deal with all the feelings through utilizing your coach and beginning the healing process rather than deepening the wounds. You will deal with the legal system through your individual lawyers and divide up the financial assets with the help of a financial specialist if needed, but you will do out of court making the financial decision yourselves. You will begin to build that new relationship to continue to parent your children with the child specialist. Collaborative divorce addresses the aspects of divorce that the traditional litigated process does not address. It allows the parties during the process of divorcing to have the chance to begin to build the foundation for a future in which they will continue to be able to work together. It gives the parties a better chance to give the fairy tale an eventual happy ending. Then perhaps during those times they are together for the kids rather than dooming everyone to a horror show at each event, everyone will be able to live happily ever after.

So if you are considering divorce, before proceeding, look at divorce from sides, the adversarial traditional side and the collaborative side. While you still may ‘not know love at all’ you can choose the way that will work best for you to begin to build your future dreams and life. Because win or lose life goes.

If you are facing a divorce, contact the Boca Raton divorce attorneys at Orner Law, LLC today! We can help!