There is nothing worse during a separation process than that horrible feeling of complete uncertainty. Without a time-sharing schedule for the kids, an agreement on finances, or any idea of when either party is going to move out, clients feel completely vulnerable. I have lost count of how many times I have gotten a frantic call because one parent got to the school first and took the kids, or someone went away for the weekend and came home to an empty house. Bank accounts get raided, bills don’t get paid, and when people don’t communicate about these things, all this can quickly and easily escalate into a very bad situation.
It is hard to explain to clients that what a normal citizen might consider an emergency, may not be viewed as one by the courts. Remember, courts see the worst of the worst, so getting an emergency hearing is rare. This means it could take months before certain pressing issues can be addressed in litigation– but that is NOT the case in Collaborative cases.
When clients sign on to the Collaborative process, they agree to maintain the status quo until a new agreement is reached changing the couple’s established operating procedures with finances, child-rearing, or living arrangements. Collaborative provides parties with immediate security, unlike any other process, and allows them to set the pace so issues can get addressed quickly and efficiently.
There are some mediators and even litigators that encourage couples to try and maintain the status quo during the divorce process, but it is not a contractual requirement, and sometimes it simply is not feasible. I understand that sometimes it simply is necessary to move out without further discussion, and there are times when expenses just need to be eliminated and funds have to be accessed to meet certain obligations, but I urge everyone to try and create as little upheaval as possible– especially when children are involved. The more stability and continuity that we can preserve during the dissolution of a partnership, the greater the chance of exiting with goodwill, dignity and grace.