Is New Jersey Collaborative Divorce Right for You?

Collaborative Divorce is a dispute resolution process that uses a team approach to guide spouses to reach a settlement of issues, including custody and parenting time, alimony and child support, and division of assets and debt.

The New Jersey Collaborative Law Act was signed into law in September 2014 in an effort to provide uniformity in collaborative law throughout New Jersey.

Undoubtedly, divorce is a sensitive and personal matter.  Collaborative Divorce can be a preferable alternative to a lengthy, costly, and contentious litigation process.

 

A great tool to see if collaborative divorce is a good fit for you is the following test outlined in The Collaborative Way To Divorce by Stuart G. Webb and Ronald D. Ousky, A Plume Book (Plume Printing, (c) 2006)

 The Instructions

Rate each of the following statements on a scale of 1 to 5 where:

  • 1 means you strongly disagree with the statement
  • 2 means you disagree
  • 3 means you are neutral or the statement does not apply
  • 4 means you agree
  • 5 means you strongly agree with the statement

The Statements:

  1. My ability to achieve a successful outcome in the divorce primarily will depend on the decisions I make during the process.
  2. In order to achieve my most important goals, I am willing to let go of some smaller, short-term issues, even though it may be very hard to do so.
  3. I am capable of making the emotional commitment necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
  4. I am not afraid of or intimidated by my spouse.
  5. I am willing to try to see things from my spouse’s point of view in order to help achieve the best possible outcome.
  6. I believe it is possible for my spouse and me to restore enough trust in each other to achieve a successful outcome.
  7. I am willing to commit myself fully to resolving the issues through the Collaborative Process by working toward common interests rather than simply arguing in favor of my positions.
  8. It is important to me that my spouse and I maintain a respectful and effective relationship after the divorce.
  9. I have accepted the fact that this divorce is going to happen.
  1. I believe that it is very important that our children maintain a strong, healthy relationship with both parents.

Interpreting Your Score

40 and above – there is a good chance that the Collaborative Process will work for you.  If your spouse scores in the same range (he/she should take the quiz separately) then your chances for a successful outcome are quite high.

30 to 40 – the Collaborative Process will work for you, but you should ask your team for help with your 1’s & 2’s. You may also want to read The Collaborative Way To Divorce by Stuart Webb, or Collaborative Divorce by Pauline Tesler.

20 to 30 – this is a borderline score. The Collaborative Process can work for you, but you will have to do a lot of prep work to get there. Carefully study your 1’s and 2’s – are there things you can do to become better prepared? If it is possible, you may want to consider postponing the divorce while you find the help you need to become better prepared.

Less than 20 – you will likely be very frustrated with the Collaborative Process and odds are that you will be equally frustrated with the alternatives to collaborative divorce.   While it’s still possible to succeed in the collaborative process by resolving your case out of court, unless you make some significant changes in your perspective, you won’t come through the collaborative process feeling as if you’ve achieved your most important goals.

According to Stu Webb, one of the most important indicators of success in the collaborative process is your ability – and your spouse’s ability – to take personal responsibility for your role in resolving the issues in your divorce.

If you believe that a New Jersey collaborative divorce is right for you and your spouse, the next step would be to speak with a professional collaborative divorce coach and/or attorney.

 

 

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