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Courts in Crisis
Due to more and more cuts in spending, the state of our court system continues to deteriorate. This had lead to extended periods of waiting for legal matters to be solved, and to outright crisis within any litigated case. This is reason enough for divorcing couples to come to agreement outside of court. Here is a help list for those parties who understand that cooperation mean reaching acceptable solutions in a more time-efficient and cost-effective manner.

Help List for Separated or Divorcing Couples:

1. View your “ex” as a problem-solving partner. Consider that person as someone who can constructively participate in solving the issues created by your separation. This is the reason that person will be referred to as your “partner” in this list.

2. Be constructive. Being effective and constructive means remaining focused on achieving goals that are consistent with your interests and principles, and acting in ways that you believe can lead to a solution.

3. Take responsibility for your feelings and do not allow them to dictate your actions. Feelings are appropriately explored in therapy, not in negotiations. Focus your attention on what will help you in the future.

4. Avoid using inflammatory language and gestures.

5. Speak for yourself, not for your partner. When speaking about your partner, try not to describe his/her feelings or motivations. Focus on your own feelings. Use “I” statements; avoid “you” statements.

6. Remember that the collaborative process is completely voluntary.
Knowledge of your entitlement to stop at any time gives you the freedom to consider options without feeling coerced.

7. Be creative. Attempt to think “outside of the box.” Be willing to consider as many options as possible for meeting your interests as well as your partner’s.

8. Respect the fact that the big changes taking place in your relationship will present different challenges for you and your partner. Sometimes one of you will have already fully accepted the idea of the relationship ending, while the other is just starting to adjust to that reality. Respect differences and do not take them personally. Consider the possibility that each of you is doing the best that you can.

9. Consider conflict as an opportunity to be creative. Conflict can be a useful tool if it leads to a productive result and is handled skillfully and respectfully. Collaboration does not imply an absence of conflict. Collaborative Law does provide an opportunity to approach potential conflict with a constructive solution-oriented attitude.

10. Listen carefully to your partner’s expressed feelings, priorities, concerns, and interests. It is very important that you try to understand what matters to your partner, and why. True collaboration aims for maximum consensus, which implies that everyone will be attempting to find resolutions that encompass as much as possible of what is important to each of you.

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