Cheryl was married to Paul for over 28 years. Two years ago while in Las Vegas for a conference, Paul was arrested in a prostitution sting. Much to Paul's disappointment, what happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas.
Since the incident, things were tense between them. Cheryl felt betrayed and worried about her financial future. Their daughter was getting married in seven months. A large wedding and reception was already scheduled at the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod; but Cheryl and Paul feared the divorce would become the focus of the family and friends instead of the wedding.
Cheryl called our office to schedule an appointment. She wanted to understand her options and learn more about issues such as alimony and property division. Cheryl wanted a lawyer on her side during negotiations, and wanted to avoid a long court-battle. We reviewed the different ways to get through the divorce process, and Cheryl was felt a collaborative divorce would be the best alternative.
Like Cheryl, Paul was not familiar with collaborative divorce either, but Cheryl provided him some information and Paul hired his own collaborative attorney. The group settlement meetings encouraged problem solving and the efficient exchange of financial documents, saving money when compared to a court-based case. We used our divorce financial planning software to prepare reports showing alimony alternatives and the related tax implications, illustrating how different alimony scenarios would impact their budgets now and into the future. Paul apologized to Cheryl during the second meeting, which helped them both move towards closure.
Together, along with the help of the collaborative divorce coach that was part of the process, they recognized that their marriage was not a failure although it did not end up as either had wished. A full agreement was reached covering alimony and property division, including details surrounding their second home in Chatham, since both Paul and Cheryl wanted to keep the property in the family for the children and future grandchildren.
Thanks to the efficiency of the collaborative process, Cheryl and Paul spent less on legal fees when compared to litigation, allowing them to pay for their daughter's wedding as they originally intended. More importantly, they focused on treating each other respectfully during the divorce, which translated to less conflict, resentment, and disruption. Cheryl and Paul even sat together at the same table at the wedding and the entire family and their guests were able to enjoy the day.