I started ballroom dancing a few years ago. What started out as curious and new became an exciting way to exercise and have fun. In becoming proficient, I learned the intricacies of each move which was very different. One in particular was the Tango. It’s a very deliberate dance in which each partner is required to be in sync with the other as well as the music. This requires trusting the process to achieve the outcome of moving down the floor seemingly easy and graceful (although trust me, it is not!).
Learning this move takes time and effort but the end result finally comes together because of the partners being in sync to create what you see on the dance floor. When each partner does their part, everyone looks good as well as the dance itself.
Choosing the Collaborative process is very similar: Both spouses deciding to divorce may start out in a “dance” centered around what each wants as they try to navigate through the end of their marriage. It can be tricky and complicated when each one is in their own corner. Working as a team seems out of the picture and unheard of.
With the Tango, there is much preparation before you’re on the dance floor. You have to think about what you want this move to look like. Your mindset should be clear and positive as to the outcome you are looking for. This is the same with the Collaborative process: understanding what outcome you are looking for prepares you for the next steps. What’s important to you? Is financial security a priority? Also are you there to make yourself look good or are looking to work together with your partner to be in sync? In a collaborative case, the outcome will be much more beneficial to both spouses if each understands the other’s needs. If either is only concerned about how they benefit from the divorce, it’s going to be very difficult to be on the same page and achieve a result that works for both.
When I started taking lessons, it was important for me to work with a dance instructor that understood how I learned. I needed them to meet me where I was as a dancer and what my goals were. My progress as a dancer was as a result of finding that instructor and trusting that they could help me become a better dancer
Finding divorce professionals is the same. It’s important to work with one who listens – who understands what your goals are and your fears as well. They should be willing to meet you where you are in the divorce process and support you in a way that is comfortable to you. They should explain the process and the steps along the way. You should feel confident that they can help you achieve your goals.
I’ve witnessed and participated in many divorces that were successfully resolved through the Collaborative process. These outcomes were a result of both spouses “moving” through a difficult “dance” by working together. They worked with a team of divorce professionals trained and experienced in the Collaborative process. Their team understood how important it was to support each other’s goals. This dance, while difficult, allows each spouse to achieve their goals together. The couple can choose to act in sync with decisions that have to be made or not. As in the Tango, each spouse has a role to “play” in working toward a common goal. If their intention is not to have an equitable outcome, the “dance” becomes messy. Both spouses get “tripped up” and create a space that gets in the way of resolution. However, if they decide to resolve their case without going to court and trust the Collaborative process, they can create a “dance” to achieve a result that’s fair and works for both.
One particular case involved a couple where there was much conflict during the marriage especially before they decided to use the Collaborative process to resolve their divorce. Initially one spouse did not want to be in the same room as the other. It was too painful. The Collaborative team recognized this and supported the spouse who was uncomfortable. After meeting with both spouses, a safe space was created for both spouses to be together during the process. The spouse was still uncomfortable but trusted the team and was able to complete the case. This was a difficult “dance”. It took intricate and difficult moves. Although not in the beginning, but with practice the moves of the Collaborative process became less stressful. Not easy but continuing to stay the course was key to a successful outcome. The spouses trusted the team (dance instructors) after they communicated where they were in the process and what their goals were. As the team listened, the spouses began to trust them and themselves. They worked together and as challenging as it was (as most dances are), they each achieved their goals and a successful outcome. The spouse who was uncomfortable in the beginning was able to move past that and co-parent moving forward without fear after the case was resolved.
It takes two to tango. It’s not easy and takes a lot of work. But when the partners understand what their role is in the process, they can turn a complicated “dance” into a beautiful synchronistic movement. They trust their instructors and soon trust the process. Collaborative divorce embraces the benefit of working together to achieve a common goal without going to court. This is a dance worth learning.
Anthony J. Diaz was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in New York City. While working full-time, he earned his accounting degree from St. Johns University. Anthony was admitted to practice in 1998 after graduating from Stetson University.
Before opening his private practice, Anthony was an Assistant State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida and personally handled thousands of cases such as DUI Manslaughter, Robbery with a Firearm, Drug Possession, Grand Theft and Misdemeanors.
The Law Firm of Anthony J. Diaz is located in downtown Orlando, Florida and Melbourne, FL and handles cases throughout the State of Florida.