FINANCIAL CONSERVATION. EMOTIONAL PRESERVATION.
Green divorce is an approach that attempts to best preserve the financial and emotional resources of all members of the family, including the children. It was designed in an attempt to preserve and conserve the resources of the family and to replace adversarial competition with collaborative cooperation.
Green Divorce Process & Principles: The Green Divorce process offers the parties the ability to meet with one mediator (who happens to be a trained and experienced family law attorney, but who is not representing either party) in several short sessions. The short sessions are designed to prevent anyone from agreeing to something simply because he/she is hungry, exhausted, depleted, or worried about missing another commitment. It also gives both parties an opportunity to gather their thoughts and connect with their support systems between each session. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator, and the parties are encouraged to abide by certain principles, many of which are shared with the collaborative law model.
Conservation- We hire one mediator and share the cost. The mediator meets with both of us and acts as a neutral facilitator of settlement to conserve financial resources by keeping them within the family. We conserve our energy and our time by meeting in several short sessions, as opposed to one very long session, so that we are fresh and engaged in each meeting.
Cooperation- We embrace a spirit of cooperation and focus on the impact that each decision will have on ourselves, on each other, and on the children. We seek creative and workable solutions without a “winner” or a “loser.”
Sustainability- We strive for solutions that allow the family to sustain itself emotionally and financially both during and after the transition.
Creativity- We use limited resources creatively to maximize their value for the whole family. We may consider options that are “outside the box” since the needs of each family are unique and therefore cannot be dictated by generalities.
Holistic- We understand lawyers may not be the only professionals or the best professionals to help us negotiate certain areas, so we are open to contacting therapists, child specialists, tax professionals, financial planners or any other expert who may contribute to constructing the best possible outcomes.
Resource Sharing- We share resources such as experts, consultants and other advisors to prevent duplicating efforts and to save time, money, (and paper).
Paperless- We strive to do all of our communicating and negotiating electronically or in person. We seek to avoid the use of paper until the final agreement is generated. The final Separation Agreement is printed one time, on recycled paper, and signed by both parties.
At any point, either or both parties can consult with or hire an attorney (who cannot be the attorney who is acting as mediator) to assist him or her in understanding or completing the process. But for most clients who have completed the process, the Green Divorce was an opportunity to cooperate together in an effort to maximize the available resources and sustain the mental and financial health of the family during a very difficult time. Additionally, parties are often more likely to honor their agreements because the terms were devised by the parties themselves, rather than forced on them by a judge.
The Green Divorce process is not for everyone. It requires a certain level of communication, cooperation, and equality between the parties to be successful. In situations where there is or has been domestic violence; where one spouse dominates the other physically, emotionally, or verbally; or where one or both spouses are in an emotional place where they are unable to be honest, or to communicate productively with the other spouse, another process may be more appropriate. But for those looking for an alternative to the traditional adversarial model of divorce, the Green Divorce may fill that gap. It is important, for all people experiencing separation and divorce, to be thoughtful about and select the process that is right for them. It can make all the difference.