What is a cooperative divorce?

The person who argues the loudest does not always win. This is often the case in divorce, where cooperation can pay off for both sides.

In divorce, an adversarial approach can lead to a drawn-out court proceeding that is costly both financially and emotionally. It can also lead to unwanted court involvement in your life.

By choosing an aggressive lawyer to handle your divorce, you could end up hurting yourself in the long run. An aggressive lawyer may present overreaching arguments that are embellished with exaggeration and distorted facts. The aggressive lawyer may try to make his or her side look good as possible and the other side look as bad as possible. This approach seldom works with family law judges, especially when children are involved.

A cooperative approach often works better. A cooperative approach:

  • Offers the judge a realistic and practical view of the case
  • Is not critical of the other side
  • Offers the judge as much objective information as possible
  • Gives the judge options with respect to a particular issue
  • Allows the judge to form his or her own conclusions as what makes the most sense

Through cooperative divorce, you and your spouse can preserve your relationship and your finances. In the cooperative divorce model, the clients determine their outcome through interests-based negotiation. The two sides do not dig into positions. Instead, each side pursues goals and outcomes that are not incompatible with the other side’s goals and outcomes. Neither side issues ultimatums or demands.

Sheldon E. Finman, P.A., is a family law attorney in Fort Myers who helps his clients seek less adversarial ways to dissolve a marriage.

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