Divorce after cheating - Is the Collaborative process right for me?

Is the Process right for me?  My husband had a secret affair and I now don’t believe a word he says because he has proved himself to be a liar.  He wants me to consider Collaborative Divorce.  Why should I?

Certainly, your husband’s betrayal of your trust may lead you to the conclusion that your marriage is irretrievably broken and that a divorce will need to occur.  But then what?

Unfortunately, when the first person that mentions the subject of a Collaborative Divorce to you is the last person whose information you take at face value, you are naturally skeptical about the Collaborative Process because of the skepticism you have about your husband’s motives for suggesting it.

It is true that your husband may be attracted to the idea of a Collaborative Divorce for different reasons than why you find Collaborative Divorce appealing.  Those reasons may be personal to him and in some ways selfish in your opinion.  Perhaps he is motivated by the level of privacy that a Collaborative Divorce can offer because he knows the affair is going to take front and center stage.  One of your reasons for choosing the Collaborative Process may be more selfless than that—to work on a co-parenting relationship with your husband in a way that would not be possible in a traditional divorce process.  You may find the team approach to the Collaborative Process versus the polarizing effect of litigation appealing while your husband is attracted to the idea that amends, even apologies, can be made in the Collaborative Process for the wrongs committed.  While your reasons to use the Collaborative Process may not match, discarding the Collaborative Process as an option because your untrustworthy husband suggested it may lead you to choose the least ideal option in terms of the short and long-term benefits for your family as a whole.

The choice itself between opting for a Collaborative Divorce versus the traditional divorce process will not change the fact that your husband cheated.  However, it may very well impact whether, in spite of the affair, you and your husband can reestablish a trusting relationship for the sake of the well being of the children and for your long-term peace of mind.  You do not have to trust your husband to reach your own conclusions about the Collaborative Process, and even though the suggestion may have come from your husband, much information is available to you in helping you reach your own decision about whether the Collaborative Process is right for you.



Jennifer L. Johnsen
Collaborative Lawyer