When we are in pain, just about all we can think about is ending the pain, whether that pain is a smashed toe or finger, a tooth ache, the ravages of cancer or the death of a relationship. The pain seems to invade every thought and impact every action and process of our lives. We flail about grasping at ways to distract ourselves from the pain, to find ways to ignore the source of the pain, ways to stop the pain, but, inevitably, the pain reasserts itself and shakes us from the illusion of freedom from it.
Unfortunately, the divorce process, just like treatments for cancer or the healing process between the smashing of the toe/finger and the cessation of the throbbing pain, takes time. The divorce process is just that, a process. The process has its own life and its own timetable; its own rules. YOU ARE NOT COMPLETELY IN CONTROL! That is true even in the Collaborative Divorce model.
Nevertheless, in the Collaborative Divorce model you and your spouse can impact the length of the process, the steps and intricacies of the process and the cost of the process, BUT, THE PROCESS TAKES TIME because information must be gathered, processed (physically, intellectually and emotionally), negotiated (from more than just your perspective) and agreed upon. All of that takes TIME and time is what this question begs to control.
If you have given birth to a child or watched the process, you have seen in action this concept of the process over which one has little control. From the first labor pain to the moment of delivery there is much agony and writhing, shouts of “I can’t do this anymore” and whimpers of “will this never end.” But, of course, the process takes its course, mom does, in fact, keep doing it and it does end with the birth of a new life. All the while those attending mom have urged calmness and proper breathing techniques, even suggested a few changes of position to take pressure off tired muscles, but the process remained in control.
The divorce process, collaborative or otherwise, fits this analogy well. While the Collaborative Divorce attorney can help you modify the divorce process to some extent, eliminating or at least modifying certain mandatory/necessary operational processes, avoiding demands which do not lead to an informational gain and/or aid in negotiation, avoiding excursions into past wrongs which do not expedite settlement and being confrontational for confrontation’s sake, but the truth is, the process must unfold in an ordered method to produce your new life. There are no C-sections in divorce. No one is going to put you under anesthesia or give you a spinal block then cut the baby out without pain. You must go through the process. That will take time, patience, and sometimes lots and lots of anger management and even more deep breathing.
As with child birth, the more you cooperate with the process the more manageable the pain will be and the less arduous the process will seem. It is the fighting of the process which exacerbates the pain and seems to prolong the agony. If you insist on your own timetable in the divorce process, you will be disappointed, frustrated and angry and after that, you will still have to go through the process. At least in the Collaborative Divorce process, you and your spouse can customize the process to your specific needs (a huge deviation from the litigation standard) and avoid delays occasioned in litigation just waiting to get time on the court’s calendar to get some disinterested person to make decisions the spouses could have made using common sense and a sense of fair play.
Will this never end? Yes, it will but the better question is “How well do you want it to end?” Let that be your guiding question and strive for the best possible outcome for you and your spouse. Regardless of how wrong your spouse was (in your mind or in reality), not every wrong has a recompense; not every right gets a reward. Cooperate with the process. Be flexible to the extent possible. Be creative or at least open to creative suggestions. Get emotional support if you need it. Curtail your tongue. Learn from your lawyer. But most importantly, breathe!