For divorced parents, the holidays are often beset with conflict and stress, even many years after the divorce. We have all heard about couples who go back to court several times after their divorce to re-litigate holiday visitation issues that were supposedly settled through the adversarial process. This year, with Christmas and Hanukkah falling on the same day, interfaith co-parents face a scheduling conflict they have never faced before.

6615_Christmas-gift-boxes-golden-backgroundFor couples who choose a collaborative divorce, however, the stress of the “holiday shuffle” is eased, if not eliminated. The collaborative process allows the divorcing parents to structure a holiday plan for the children tailored to the needs of their specific situation. However, interfaith co-parents face a unique holiday scheduling challenge this year, one that probably wasn’t anticipated when their divorce settlement agreement was written.

This brings to mind an important reason to consider a collaborative divorce. The collaborative process takes couples through a healthy, respectful way of dealing with contentious issues and conflicts. Having experienced this model, the two divorced partners know that it is possible to address the reasonable needs and concerns of both parents – and their children –without “going to war.” Through the collaborative divorce negotiations, they have incorporated some flexibility into their settlement agreement. Should co-parenting conflicts arise post-divorce, they can draw on their collaborative experience to put the needs of their children first. With the children as top priority, the issue can be discussed with a spirit of good will and a reasonable solution can be found.

In contrast, a settlement arrived at through adversarial negotiation or after a court order leaves unresolved acrimony to fester. When a post-divorce issue comes up the ongoing bitterness will then erupt into open hostility, preventing any hope of reasonable problem-solving.

Divorce, by definition, involves conflict. The way the issues of the conflict are addressed will determine whether the conflict continues post-divorce, or whether a long-term resolution is achieved. Collaborative divorce offers the best prospect for a long-term resolution.

© 2016 Arnold D. Cribari