The success of the collaborative process greatly hinges on the ability of the parties to deal openly and honestly with one another, in good faith, without fear or feeling of intimidation or coercion. In order to accomplish the goals of the collaborative process, each party must perceive himself/herself to have equal power in the decision-making.
At the start of the process, counselors and other professionals provide assistance to the parties to de-escalate any tensionsin order to allow the collaborative process to unfold. Sadly, such input is not always enough.
Some relationships may have experienced episodes of name-calling or extreme fighting, which may be infrequent and not really affect the balance of power between the parties. In these cases, the collaborative process may still be appropriate, particularly when guided by the Collaborative professionals. High conflict in a relationship does not necessarily equate to an imbalance of power.
In other relationships, one spouse
s‘s poor mental health may lead the other to feel in a constant state fearfulness, watchfulness, distrust, and a feeling of being trapped. The issues can be addressed and even successfully treated with proper counseling, psychotherapy, or medication, but takes a concerted and ongoing willingness on the part of the spouse with these issues to make a change for the better. Rarely do these issues ever resolve without significant mental health provider intervention.
For couples without mental health or domestic violence issues, the collaborative process provides a method of generating all possible options and evaluating them with an eye toward maximizing the interests of both spouses.