Law Offices of David P. Schwarz Family Law Lawyer

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Often divorces are quite messy and full of conflict.  Parties fight over the smallest of issues and create enormous adversity amongst each other during the divorce proceedings.  All of this can be avoided according to the new law passed in Illinois which uses a different approach to getting divorced.  It is simple, not complicated and not messy are the words Danielle Dvorak used when describing her 2009 divorce.

“It was quicker, cheaper and easier on so many levels – emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically – than a lot of other horror stories I’ve heard,” she said.

 If you’re wondering how on earth someone can talk about their divorce in such a positive way, Dvorak said she credits the divorce process she and her ex chose to use: collaborative divorce, which is an alternative to traditional litigation.

“There was a series of meetings with us and our attorneys and a financial professional and then we started negotiating and splitting things up,” said Dvorak, a yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner, who explained that her collaborative divorce took a mere five months. “The only time we went to court was at the end when we appeared in front of a judge for 10 minutes and signed the papers. That was it.”

So, what exactly is collaborative divorce?

“There are people who are so hurt that they want to see their spouses suffer. This situation is not a good fit for a collaborative divorce,” she said. “If one person is hiding or lying about money, they do not belong in the collaborative process. Both people have to want to work together, and victims need not apply.”

I know firsthand how difficult divorce can be, and I do think it’s pretty typical for men and women going through a divorce to play the victim. After all, they are most likely devastated, hurt, scared and angry, and they feel wronged in some way.

While I think it’s OK to engage in some self-pity and the victim-like mentality for a little while at the beginning of a divorce, at some point it needs to stop. We all know divorced people who after years or even decades are still acting like a victim. Any negative occurrence in their life always stems from their ex. In other words, anything that goes wrong in life is the ex’s fault.

On the other hand, divorced people who end up happy are the ones who ultimately find the strength and courage to come to peace with the past, accept what happened and work toward building a new and better life. They treat their divorce like a business transaction, taking into account child custody and best interest of the children and the necessity for fair financial agreements.