How do I Persuade my Spouse to do Collaborative?

This is a frequently asked question. It seems counterintuitive that your spouse would look to you to help find an attorney, much less a process. If someone is interested in considering pursuing a Collaborative divorce it is almost always nonproductive to go home and try to convince a spouse that a Collaborative divorce is the right process. There is a natural resistance in the time prior to beginning the divorce process to almost anything the other spouse suggests. From our experience it is almost impossible to “talk the other spouse” into proceeding with a Collaborative divorce.

The goal should not be to convince the other spouse of the advantages of a Collaborative divorce; rather, the goal is to encourage a spouse to go to a Collaboratively trained attorney to learn more about the process. In most cases where a Collaborative divorce is being discussed or considered there is enough mutual respect between the spouses that usually the other spouse will at least be open-minded enough to talk to a Collaboratively trained attorney. Or, it is sometimes effective to provide the other spouse with literature or websites regarding Collaborative divorces.

Frankly, if the other spouse is so distrusting that they will not even discuss the idea of talking to a Collaborative divorce attorney it is probable that couple is not a good prospect for Collaborative divorce. Not all divorces should be Collaborative. However, the Collaborative community is firmly committed to having a Collaborative divorce if it makes sense to the couple. It allows for much more thoughtful decision-making and healing than does litigation which creates wounds that can take years to heal. After all, the litigation process is rightfully called “adversarial.”

In short, if someone is considering a Collaborative divorce they should not try to talk their spouse into it, but rather encourage their spouse to investigate the concept either with documents, websites, or talking to a Collaboratively trained professional.

By Randall L. Velzen
Velzen, Johnsen & Wikander P.C.