You might not expect to see the words ‘divorce’ and ‘healthy’ in the same sentence, as it likely seems like an oxymoron due to how society portrays separation and divorce. However, as a divorce attorney and licensed mediator, I’m here to prove that a divorce journey can be done in a healthy manner.
Guest Post by Robin Perrigo-Mermans of Road to Resolution
I founded ROAD to RESOLUTION – Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Family Law in Charlotte after my own divorce. My ex-husband and I knew that our marriage was over. Despite our differences, we both wanted the best for our two children. We followed through with the litigated process because we thought it was our only option. It was expensive, it took a long time, and it was a difficult emotional journey for us and our children. After this experience, I knew there had to be a healthier way for families to divorce and handle conflict. I started ROAD to RESOLUTION as a certified, non-attorney mediator. I later earned a Juris Doctor and passed the North Carolina and South Carolina bar exams to better serve my clients. As an attorney and mediator with a unique personal perspective, I am determined to help others through this process in a positive way. That’s why I use collaborative law, which is an out-of-court settlement that consists of many benefits for divorcing couples and their families.
During a collaborative divorce, each spouse hires their own collaborative attorney to represent them individually. The parties and their attorneys sign a Participation Agreement that states both spouses are committed to using collaborative and cooperative strategies rather than combative tactics to negotiate the issues. So, right off the bat, the divorcing couple agrees to have a respectful divorce process. They work together, with their attorneys, to discuss their divorce, division of assets, and co-parenting arrangements outside of a courtroom to reach a fair and mutually beneficial outcome.
It Saves Time
Divorce through litigation is known to be a drawn-out process. For many couples, it takes years from the time they separate to the time their divorce is finalized. When a couple knows their marriage is over, they likely want to move on with their lives as fast as possible. They don’t want to spend years working through their divorce and spending time in and out of a courtroom. With a collaborative divorce, attorneys are not beholden to court deadlines and delays, instead they work efficiently through the process and at a pace that works for the clients. With collaborative law, the goal is to not take any more time than what is needed.
It Saves Money
Since divorcing couples are likely saving time with collaborative law, that means they’re also saving money. While every divorce is unique and costs can’t be generalized, collaborative divorce is known to cost less than litigation for many reasons. The collaborative divorce doesn’t involve lengthy court proceedings, elaborate court filing, and attendance in the courtroom.
Collaborative divorce focuses on the individual needs of each couple and the best interest of the family. Much like every relationship, every divorce is different when it comes to finances, relationships, priorities, and experiences. From drafting parenting agreements to discussing assets, every family deserves to have a custom approach. With a collaborative divorce, the divorcing couple can utilize additional experts to help create a tailored agreement. These neutral experts may consist of additional lawyers, financial advisors, planners, coaches, and/or child specialists. In addition, each spouse is able to enlist the help of mental health professionals, if needed, at any time during the process.
It Avoids Emotional Turmoil
Divorce is an emotional process for most couples, no matter the settlement option. However, couples who choose collaborative divorce often report less emotional turmoil. The collaborative process is designed to utilize open communication. In addition, one of the main goals of collaborative attorneys is to reduce conflict while reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. While there will be tough conversations, the collaborative divorce journey is a non-adversarial process that avoids aggressive and contentious situations.
It Supports Co-Parents
Some divorcing couples, like those with children, must remain in communication after their divorce. Collaborative divorce attorneys will work with their clients to create a co-parent agreement that works for both parents while maintaining a positive relationship. Several years after my divorce, I married a man who was also divorced with children. Together, we have five children under two separate parenting agreements. We have positive relationships with our co-parents because we know that is best for our children. Our children are loved, cared for, and supported by all parents involved. As a collaborative divorce attorney and mother, I know that maintaining relationships is important for families with children. I strive to work with my clients and other attorneys to achieve balanced agreements for parents and their children.
Choosing a collaborative divorce is my advice for a experiencing a healthy divorce. If you have any legal questions about separation or divorce, please give us a call at (980) 260-1600. Our Charlotte-based team is here to help you and your family.
Robin Perrigo-Mermans is a collaborative attorney and certified mediator. She owns ROAD to RESOLUTION, a divorce mediation and collaborative family law firm, in Charlotte. Due to her unique perspective as an attorney, mother, and stepmother, she is an expert in shared parenting solutions and co-parenting guidance. She is committed to using her personal story and passion to help her clients save time and money, while avoiding unnecessary emotional turmoil during their divorce journey and on their road to resolution. Licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina, Robin is a trained Collaborative Attorney and a Dispute Resolution Commission Certified Mediator. She is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Carolina Collaborative Law Group.