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Family Law

Collaborative divorce: how to get your ex to agree

By October 27, 2020February 23rd, 2024No Comments

Collaborative divorce: If you’ve been considering the benefits of using Collaborative Law to resolve issues relating to your divorce, the sticking point may be that you are unsure whether your ex would even agree to try the process out. But with all the wide-ranging benefits that go with a collaborative divorce, it’s definitely worth seeing whether you can convince your ex to give this Alternative Dispute Resolution process a try. Let’s take a look at strategies for persuading an ex to consider a collaborative divorce.

One of the big challenges is to get your ex on board and willing to try the collaborative divorce process. If you are going through a high-conflict separation, it’s unlikely that you will find it easy to persuade an ex to try collaboration. However, in other circumstances, it may be that your ex simply needs a nudge towards the collaborative process, once they have had all the benefits fully explained to them.

Maybe you are especially keen to avoid court, knowing that the time and costs involved often make it a painful way to resolve your family law matter. Maybe your ex does want to settle out of court, but there isn’t agreement on all the issues and you have been heading towards litigation.

But unless your ex is dead set against trying out a collaborative divorce, hopefully with a little encouragement and a lot of information, they can be helped to understand that a collaborative divorce could well be the best way forward for the both of you. So here are some strategies for helping make the case to your ex that a collaborative divorce is the best way forward.

  • Share resources

Do your homework on collaborative divorce so that you have the background knowledge of why it might be suitable for you and your ex to try. Often a partner will just not know enough about the process in order to make a decision about it. You can help them by providing them with information—for example, you can obtain info from the, family lawyers can provide you with useful resources, and there are also plenty of books and online articles on the subject.

In particular, look for and share any research you find about collaborative divorce that seems to gel especially well with your situation. If it convinces you, it may well convince your ex as well.

  • Ask your spouse what their concerns are, and address these

Your spouse may be concerned about many issues, including the cost, what is required of them, how long it will all take, and so on. Having answers prepared for common questions spouses have means you will be able to field any concerns and hopefully successfully persuade them to give it a go.

For example, if you expect your ex will likely be worried about costs, do a little research beforehand to find out what the likely costs would be for you both. You can simply contact firms who specialise in collaborative divorce and ask them how they charge.

Or, for example, if your ex is concerned about how long the process will take, offer them up a comparison of how long cases take to be resolved in the family courts, and explain that your collaborative divorce will be faster–we’re talking months compared to years in the court system. Note that how long it takes will depend on factors such as how complex the issues between you are, how willing each of you is to compromise, and the skill levels of your professionals–it definitely pays to find a family lawyer who is very experienced in collaborative law, and has established connections with highly qualified support professionals.

  • Look for word of mouth referrals

If you have friends who have successfully been through a collaborative divorce, it may help to get them to share their feedback on the process and its benefits.

  • Approach the subject gently

With so many things in flux at this time, and emotions heightened, the way that you put your proposal into words will go a long way towards successfully selling the idea. Consider your timing: the best time to broach the subject is at a time when conflict between you is minimal. Don’t try to raise it as an option in the middle of argument. If possible, outline your ideas in an email rather than verbally, so that you can choose your words as carefully as possible and give your spouse time to reflect on their response rather than feeling like they need to respond immediately verbally.

  • Focus on the many positives

Point out all the ways that a collaborative divorce will benefit your spouse, not just you. For example you could mention benefits such as the fact that it is more affordable than litigation, that it affords privacy and a greater control over the outcome, and that staying out of court is really the only way to “win” at divorce: you’ll recover faster financially, it’s better for the kids, and so on.

  • Don’t try to force the issue

A collaborative divorce only works when both parties are genuinely committed to the process—unfortunately, it just can’t be forced, as you cannot enter collaborative negotiations with a hostile spouse.

At Alliance Family Law we specialise in collaborative law— if you have any questions about collaborative divorce please give Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors a call on (02) 6223 2400 to arrange a free first conference.

Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Family Law.

You may also like to read our blog on how the Alternative Dispute Resolution processes—collaboration, mediation and arbitration—are different.


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