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We blog about helping Long Island families to resolve conflicts in the most productive ways possible.

Feb 19, 2017BY: Neil Grossman
IN: Conduct and Communications

Collaborative Divorce and George Washington’s Strength of Character

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“I cannot tell I lie – I chopped down the cherry tree.”

It would have been easier for George Washington to deny chopping down the cherry tree. However, this legendary story is designed to show us the strength of character that enabled George Washington to lead both the American Revolution and our nation as its first President.

When going through a divorce, it sometimes may seem that it is not in our self-interest to tell the truth. Sometimes it may be easier to just think of ourself.

However, a little strength of character can help get a couple through their divorce to a mutually successful outcome. More often than not, when each spouse considers the interests of both, and the children, they devise an outcome that is better for all.

A person’s real character comes out in situations that are difficult.

In a divorce, do we want an outcome that is best for us or for our whole family? Or do we guard our self-interest at the expense of the interests of everyone else?

In a Collaborative Divorce, spouses commit to complete transparency. Neither spouse tries to hide assets from the other. Each spouse hears the interests of the other and attempts to factor those interests into the jointly beneficial solution. They agree to find a solution that works best for everyone. Nobody says that’s easy. However, the team of collaborative professionals including lawyers, a neutral mental health professional and a financial specialist are available to guide you through the process.

The frequent alternative to a collaborative approach to divorce is to litigate. There, the spouses do battle. At every opportunity, each tries to tells the judge how good he/she is and how bad the other spouse is. Then, based upon the mountain of charges and countercharges, and each side’s selected financial information, the judge decides what will happen to the family. The judge does not really know the family and has a very limited number of options. Litigation frequently takes two to three years or more, and is extraordinarily expensive.

There is a much better way. In a Collaborative Divorce you and your spouse are in charge of the process. Together, with the right help, you work out how your family will get through the divorce. Your strength of character and commitment to do what’s best lets you lead your family into the a better-planned post-divorce future designed to meet the goals and interests of each family member.

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