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Negotiated Maryland divorce can reap long-term benefits

Separating can be bitter and divisive. But divorce doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes choosing to negotiate openly and honestly with a spouse is the best course of dispute resolution for all concerned, especially the children.

The court system is an adversarial one. This isn't always the ideal setting to determine what is best for Maryland individuals and families struggling with the issues of divorce, custody, visitation, and the division of assets and debts. Alternative dispute resolution processes such as collaborative divorce and mediation allows for the parties to meet and engage with each other in a non-adversarial setting.

Take for example the admitted struggles of post-divorce expert Debbi Dickinson had with deciding to pursue an amicable divorce. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband was unemployed at the time of the divorce and was asking her to provide him with support while he pursued a university degree.

She says she was all set to fight what she considered his unfair request in court. Then a friend asked, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" After some thought, she opted to distance herself from the emotions and concluded to settle the financial issues amicably. After she made the decision to work the issues out without engaging in a long and protracted court battle, she says everything fell into place for her.

This obviously isn't always how things work out. There are certainly instances when it is absolutely necessary to pursue litigation in court. However, the benefits of reaching a mutual agreement without the pain of prolonged litigation tend to far outweigh the emotional and financial toll of litigation.

One of the main benefits Dickinson cites of her decision was the positive impact her peaceful parting with her ex-husband had on her child. For the woman's daughter, seeing her parents at peace and cooperating with each other has been a stabilizing influence and has meant the world.

Alternative resolution process such as collaborative divorce or mediation may not be right for every situation, but they can be especially valuable methods of reaching a fair and just settlement for couples capable of working together.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Do You Want to be Right or Do You Want to be Happy?," Debbi Dickinson, June 18, 2012

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