Collaborative Divorce Mitigates Against Stress

Question of DivorceI am an attorney.  When people phone to enquire about a divorce there are only two questions that they want answered – How much will it cost and how soon can it be done?

These questions are undoubtedly important.  Yet I am still surprised that a decision to end a marriage and proceed with a divorce is dependent on the answers supplied.   Seldom am I asked about what would be the best way to mitigate against stress during this stressful time.  Or how can we best address the needs of the children going forward.

Should anyone ask these questions of me I would advise that a collaborative divorce would be the way to go, if at all possible.  A collaborative and uncontested divorce does not only keep the costs down while allowing for quick dissolution of a marriage, it oftentimes also proves less stressful and provides much needed stability to the children.

The hallmark of a collaborative divorce is fairness.  The objective is not to “win” or punish the spouse.  Instead couples that have elected to divorce actively engage and collaborate together on reaching an agreement that seeks an equitable division of the estate while acting in the best interest of their children.

Once agreement has been reached the process is pretty simple as the agreement forms the cornerstone of proceedings.  It means that there will be no arguments in courts or another attorney.  A good settlement agreement will also pass muster with the family advocate who would endorse same without having to meet the couple or their children.

Most importantly for couples with children, it sets the tone for future dealings among the parties.  While the husband and wife are divorced they remain mom and dad to their children.  Consequently they will always play a role in the other’s life.  Having worked towards reaching a settlement agreement they have also laid the groundwork for dealing with other issues that will invariably crop up from time to time.

The sentiments that I have expressed above are probably best exemplified in the words of a client of mine who had this to say “I feel our son reaped the benefit of an amicable parting.  He has two homes that love him dearly and he has a mom and dad who don’t use him to get at each other”.


Written for by Raymond Hauptfleisch (Attorney – Pretoria)