By Annie Finnigan
Significantly, collaboration allows for arrangements that courts sometimes can't. Angela's final agreement was one a judge could never have created. In Texas, where she lives, the law doesn't easily provide for spousal support, which Angela receives, and the state requires less child support than her husband agreed to.
CD gave Carolyn Caswell of Minneapolis, who has a 9-year-old son, a way to advocate for specific needs. "I had a chance to stand up for myself," she says. She hadn't had a full-time job in years, so she asked for, and received temporary spousal support and the house. Another victory: As part of the arrangement, Carolyn asked that her ex's fiancee, who attends her church, not join the choir in which she sings.
A divorce isn't just an ending; it's also a beginning. A couple who has built a new, if separate, foundation for the future is giving each other, and their children, a head start on the recovery process. "Your divorce is never behind you if you have kids," says Carolyn. "My ex and I worked everything out. We focused on what would make life better for all of us."