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What Happens in Cooperative Divorce Law

A relatively new way to handle divorce proceedings, cooperative divorce is a great way to avoid bitterness and get your divorce settled out of court. The parties involved will sign a cooperative divorce law participation agreement along with their lawyers. It’s very important that the lawyers and divorcing the couple agree to follow a few guidelines

  • Be sensible in negotiations — Remember that just because you ask for something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it and vice versa. It’s important that all parties agree not to ask for things that they know are not reasonable and will never be agreed to.
  • Have sensible positions — Start with the idea of win-win for everyone and focus on the issues that you do both agree on first. If everyone involved, lawyers and the couple start where agreement lives it’ll be easier to get to the more touchy issues later.
  • Facilitate problem solving — There is an art to facilitating problem solving. Attorneys who work in cooperative divorce have typically had training in this regard. But the way it works is generally everyone gets to air their issue for a minute or two without any backlash. Then everyone participates in some brainstorming to try to get to the middle answer which both can live with.
  • Promise to be respectful — It can be very difficult during an emotional situation such as divorce negotiations to be respectful but it’s important that all parities are respectful no matter what. Being respectful doesn’t mean you have to truly respect the other person. It just means that for the purposes of negotiation you refrain from being disrespectful.
  • Promise to act in a civil manner — Nothing will get done if either attorneys or clients can’t behave in a civil manner. To be civil don’t bring up issues that you know hurts the other party. Don’t try to stab people with your words. Civility can be had even in mixed company. Practice it, and it will serve you well.
  • Keep an open mind — If you keep your mind open, and act respectfully and are civil you never know what your spouse might come up with as a solution to any of the problems you have. Keep listening and keep your mind open. You may find your answer to a problem easier than you thought.
  • Accept that this case is unique — Every single divorce case is unique to the parties involved and there is no cookie cutter solution. This is why you chose to do a cooperative divorce because you don’t want a judge deciding your situation in a cookie cutter manner.
  • Avoid disruptive displays of emotion — This is a really hard one for the couple to do, but it is necessary. Neither anger or crying is a good way to ensure that you can get all your cards on the table and work out an agreement. Try to keep the emotion out of it. Take a jog or take up kickboxing to get out your anger later. Cry when you get home or with your therapist.

Following these guidelines will help your cooperative divorce go a lot more smoothly and be assured that you work through all issues and stay out of divorce court.


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