While divorce rates in our country have climbed significantly over the past few decades, more couples are attempting to put their children’s needs first and their own emotional issues second. Collaborative law is a growing legal area in Maryland and throughout the nation. Through collaborative law, couples set aside any urge for an acrimonious fight in order to mediate the divorce process in a far less costly — both emotionally and financially — manner.

In a collaborative divorce, the couple typically sits down with two attorneys, a neutral financial advisor and sometimes even a mental health professional, should that be required. Both spouses usually sign an agreement requiring that they hire different attorneys if the collaborative process doesn’t work and they decide to proceed with litigation. However, collaborative law tends to cost less, and provides the opportunity for a divorce that doesn’t make the children feel like their lives are crashing.

In fact, there are basic tips that couples going through collaborative divorce can keep in mind to help make things easier on their children. Bad-mouthing the ex is the first big no-no. While it can be tempting (and sometimes feel good, at least for the moment), it’s just not fair to put the kids in the middle. Not only can this cause them to feel anxiety, it can also tempt them to start leaving things out when talking to one parent or the other. It can also help for parents to acknowledge mistakes and apologize, especially when they’re made in front of the kids.

Sometimes, nuance and tone can be missed when it comes to written communication. Solving significant problems via text messages or emails can lead to miscommunication, so divorcing couples may want to avoid discussing big issues via those methods. One other helpful tip to keep in mind is for spouses to put themselves in the other spouse’s shoes. By viewing things from the other person’s perspective, sometimes it makes it easier to compromise when going through the collaborative law process. Maryland couples who are considering divorce may want to keep these tips in mind and research whether this type of divorce would make a good fit for them.

Source: Chicago Tribune, ” Collaborative divorce,” Jen Weigel, July 10, 2012