How Living Through Divorce as a Child Shaped this Attorney’s Future in Collaborative Divorce

Sad child with parents that are mad at each other.

By Lynette Kim

My interest in family law and the collaborative divorce process came to be partially because of personal experiences as a child during my parents’ divorce process.  Unfortunately, my parents’ divorce was not amicable.  While living in South Korea, my parents separated when I was 10 years old.  My mom and I moved to California after the divorce and my father stayed in Korea.  After we moved to California, my mom did not encourage me to have a relationship with my dad.  From this experience, I was drawn to family law, and I have been involved in this area for over 25 years.

Traditional court-litigated divorces have never appealed to me – so much of the results are based on a personal “win” for one of the parents, and winning can come at a substantial cost to the family unit.  This is why I decided to focus on mediation and collaborative divorce.

Our goal is to find a resolution or come to an agreement peacefully and respectfully while considering everyone involved, including the children, no matter their ages.

One case in particular that I worked on truly embodied the collaborative divorce model.  It could have been resolved bitterly had it been a litigated divorce.  A couple from Canada decided to use the collaborative process to dissolve their marriage.  They had relocated from Canada to Los Angeles and some of their assets such as real estate and retirement accounts were in Canada.  There was some separate property tracing involved.  The valuation and the exchange rate fluctuated from Canadian to US dollars.

The husband decided to be fair with the divorce.  He had contributed substantial inheritance money (close to 50% of the value of the residence) when they purchased the house in Canada.  He was amicable and let go of what could have been his separate property interest for the sake of settling and keeping a good relationship with the mother of his child.   If the finances had been problematic, emotions may have gotten in the way, making it difficult for co-parenting to occur.

One parent was willing to make a sacrifice and both were able to consider the needs of their daughter, allowing for a peaceful co-parenting future after divorce.

Lynette Kim
Kim Mediation & Law Center
3435 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 2700
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Call LACFLA today if you would like to learn more about how our members can help you and your family with your divorce.

Note: This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal/financial/tax/or medical advice. You should work with your attorney, financial, medical or tax professional to determine what will work best for your situation.

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