By: Kirstin Menzies, Family Lawyer
Although Statistics Canada has not been collecting Canada's annual marriage and divorce rates since 2008, it seems fairly widely accepted that over 40% of Canadian marriages are expected to end in divorce before the couple reach their 50th wedding anniversary. Such statistics do not account for further separations experienced by unmarried spouses (common-law couples); this makes separation and divorce a normative life event for many Canadians.
Collaborative Divorce provides an innovative option for divorcing or separating spouses to maintain control over the process and have a real role in directing and influencing their divorce 'story'. It need not be a negative experience like the ones typically shown in movies or television (almost always court based divorce processes). Of course, in any divorce, there is a grieving process and most individuals will experience some degree of emotional turmoil. However, when it comes down to deciding how children will be taken care of and determining how assets and debts will be divided, the Collaborative process can provide the means to accomplish this, while allowing both spouses to experience growth and a positive way forward.
Where children are involved, there is the need for an ongoing relationship between former spouses, as co-parents. With a team of specially trained professionals to provide assistance through the Collaborative process, there is an opportunity for this relationship to improve. Divorce Coaches will assist with communication and development of valuable skills and help navigate the newly evolving parenting relationship - skills you didn't necessarily have or feel were required when you were married.
In this work, we often ask divorcing families, 'what do you want your children's story of their parents' divorce to be?' The professionals on the Collaborative Divorce Vancouver team are here to provide their experience in similar situations to help you create as positive a story as possible, in the circumstances. This is certainly a piece of good news in the midst of a difficult time.