It depends on what you’re looking for.
If your spouse cheated on you, and you would like for him or her to be punished in your divorce, the Collaborative Process is probably not for you. In a traditional case, in Virginia and in other states that still have fault based divorce, you can ask a judge to split your property and debts unevenly due to your spouse’s adultery, and particularly if your spouse’s affair has had a negative economic impact on the marriage, a Virginia judge might do that. Additionally, if your spouse cheated, you prove it in court, and he or she seeks alimony from you, they likely won’t receive it unless they’re able to prove “manifest injustice.”
However, you have to be careful with this stuff because attorneys fees can escalate to a point that makes little sense when compared to what might be gained by proving adultery, and, in most cases, adultery winds up having little to no impact on the outcome.
In the Collaborative Process, you’ll hear about these possible legal consequences for committing adultery and how adultery cases tend to play out in ligation. However, the focus is not on punishment and conflict escalation.
Instead, collaborative professionals help spouses to work through the emotional wounds that adultery leaves and the settlement impasses to which it can lead, to concentrate on the future well being of the spouses and their children, and to reach fair and enduring financial settlements and co-parenting agreements. If helpful, sometimes a collaboratively trained mental health, called a coach, plays a role in fulfilling these goals, and sometimes, if it appears it will be helpful in moving spouses towards settlement, the aggrieved spouse might be given an opportunity to express his or her feelings directly to his her spouse in the safe envelope of a collaborative meeting.