To address that issue, we have listed several short case studies. They cover some interesting cases and issues we have handled mostly as Collaborative divorces. We learn new things with every case.
So here are some interesting issues we have dealt with. Obviously, most of my cases are not shown here. This is a sample. I will add some more over time, but you can see from these that the Collaborative teams have been beneficial in many ways.
This was a couple of professionals who worked for the same company for several years. They have two young children.
We had to resolve issues about a career change and starting a new business for one party, which meant a temporary reduction in income, a dispute over where the parties (and children) could live, and how to share time with the kids. One parent wanted to move away.
Utilizing the neutral child specialist, who was also a therapist, we were able to explore various options until the parties were able to agree on a plan for sharing time with the kids. The parent who wanted to move away didn't get to move as far as they wanted, but was still able to move out of the county, but not too far to allow frequent contact with the other parent.
With the help of the neutral financial advisor, we came to an equitable division of the assets and plans to pay off the accumulated debts.
Two professionals with busy schedules had to figure out how to make decisions on which activities they wanted the children to participate in. Plus, they had to decide how much each should contribute toward the costs of agreed activities.
Husband and Wife were both good parents and very involved with the children.
This was worked out using a team. We had a neutral therapist working on the children's issues, such as taking the children after school, taking the kids to their activities, helping with homework, doctor's visits, dentists, weekend activities, etc. Plus, sometimes one or the other of the parents had to work late and couldn't pick up the kids. Both parents were open to new ideas and that really helped.
Our neutral financial advisor helped the parties work out a budget and cash flow analysis for each parent post-divorce. That helped them make realistic financial decisions. They came to agreements on child support and then sharing expenses for the kids' many activities. Although they didn't have a perfect post-divorce relationship, they did work together well for the kids' sake.
The parties sold their old house and were able to find two appropriate houses close to each other so the kids could easily go back and forth on their own schedules. The parents ended up letting the kids decide where they wanted to be and how long they would stay.
As many parents discover, teenage kids often manage their own schedules. They have school, extracurricular and social activities, and some work. Parents can't just demand the kids comply with an arbitrary schedule. Not even when families are intact. When families split and there are teenage kids, their thoughts and plans need to be taken into account. The Collaborative process, working with a neutral therapist or child specialist, encourages flexibility in sharing time with teenage kids.
Not every couple can sell a house and buy two more, but they can work with a team to find non-traditional ways to meet with needs and abilities of the family.
Mom needed to start a new career and needed some spousal support to help her get started in a career. Dad had an ever-changing work schedule and the parties had to come to an agreement on sharing possession time with the kids. The neutral therapist helped the parties see that there were many ways to share time with the children. She helped them create an agreement that worked with the pilot's often changing work schedule.
As in many divorces, there was some sparring over the kids at first, but the therapist helped reduce the tensions and get the parents working together as co-parents. Husband could afford to pay alimony to Wife, but he also had to change his spending a little. He had to make sure he could cover the debt service, pay the alimony and his own living expenses. Wife had to adjust by reducing her spending substantially until she could be self-supporting. Having the neutral financial advisor was very helpful for both parties.
Husband had had an affair and wife knew about it. Wife chose to take the high road and focus on the future, rather than fight over the past.
The finances got resolved after they worked with the neutral financial professional. They had many goals in common once they got past the emotional issues. Husband was generous with alimony to help Wife get started with a career after she had been a stay-at-home Mom. The property was divided in ways that were satisfactory to each party and their long-term goals.
Husband traveled somewhat unpredictably, but they were able to agree to be flexible with the possession schedule for the children. Mom would keep her role as the primary caregiver but was willing for Husband to have the kids when he was in town. Throughout the divorce, they were able to work together to minimize the effects on the children.
Wife had had an affair and Husband found out about it. After some difficult negotiations, the parties agreed on how to share time with the kids and avoided a custody fight. Wife got alimony, and Husband got a flexible possession schedule.
This case involved some difficult negotiations because Wife was very angry and controlling. However, working with the neutral therapist, the parties were able to come to agreements that were acceptable to both. Husband learned how to relate to Wife better. Wife learned to control her anger, be a little less self-centered and be more restrained around the kids.
Both parents worked with the therapist on their parenting skills and with the neutral financial planner to meet the financial needs of each party, including alimony.
The couple dated in college and got married after graduation. Both had been very active in their conservative church. They quietly worked out the property division and then created a plan to share time with the kids. They also worked out a safe, appropriate plan to explain the situation to the children over time.
This was a time of difficult changes for both parties. Neither one liked the divorce, but they recognized that it was necessary. They appreciated the privacy of the Collaborative process and the guidance of the neutral therapist who helped them especially in explaining things to their children. They worked out a plan to protect the young children and provide good access to the children for the Husband. Both had been very good and involved parents and they wanted to continue that for the children.
The couple had a long-term marriage with long-term conflicts. Husband had a good business he had built up. Wife had been a stay-at-home Mom. The children were grown and she was ready to start a new career, but needed alimony to help her until she got financially on her feet.
Wife came out as she told her Husband she wanted a divorce. They had to overcome his anger and her uncertainty about facing the world as a middle-aged suddenly single woman. She planned a new career, but needed training and then money to live on for a while until she got a steady income.
After some emotional meetings, we were able to come to agreements for the Husband to keep his business while helping Wife get started on her own. Financial planning was important for both in this case.