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Collaboration can be a kinder, gentler property division path

When faced with the end of a marriage, it can be easy for Pennsylvania spouses to forget that the process is also a new beginning, one filled with possibilities and choices. Although ending a marriage is certainly challenging, the way that a couple chooses to handle their divorce can have lasting effects on their futures as individuals. Not only can a lengthy and expensive divorce leave both parties with larger legal bills, but the contention and bitterness that a heavily litigated divorce and tense fights over property division often bring can have emotional consequences as well.

Another option exists for couples who are willing to try to take a different path. A collaborative divorce is one in which the focus is on reaching a mutually satisfactory outcome by means of non-aggressive negotiation and a realistic approach toward issues such as property division and child custody and support. By coming together to work out these details, each party can treat each other with dignity and respect, and can move forward in their new lives without anger and resentment.

Such an approach may be especially important when there are children involved. By working together to put the needs of the kids first, divorcing parents can help set the foundation for a cooperative parenting approach moving forward. In addition, less contention during the divorce process can mean reduced stress levels for all involved, which can only help the children deal with the many changes in their lives.

For those Pennsylvania residents who are interested in learning more about the collaborative divorce process and how it can aid in property division, there are resources available to direct spouses toward professionals trained in the method. In addition, if an individual has already begun the legal process, it may be beneficial to ask if a collaborative approach can be attempted. Just as no two families are identical, the process of ending a marriage is also unique and can be undertaken in a variety of ways.

Source: Hartford Courant, "Divorce, Collaborative Style," Anne M. Hamilton, Sept. 27, 2012

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