Often divorce is a highly emotionally charged, complicated process, but No Court Divorce is an option that can provide a better way. As a former family-law paralegal of 15 years and now an attorney with more than 20 years’ experience, I’m a firm believer in the collaborative approach, which features an agreement not to go to Court.
Around 2001 A Better Divorce was formed to help make that better way possible, and I was hooked on the collaborative divorce process. A no court option is essential in the divorce process, and while people may be angry, grief-stricken, resentful, or vengeful, they really don’t want to go to court. When I explain that it is possible to divorce without facing a judge, they are usually relieved. (Certainly there are exceptions where Court involvement is necessary, such as in many cases of domestic violence.)
In a court room setting, emotions are usually not validated. On the other hand, the collaborative approach helps a couple express all of their emotions freely, including sadness, anger, even a desire for retribution. From a legal standpoint, details of a case typically do not matter. From a client standpoint, at that moment in time, nothing matters more. They need be heard and directed in a way that allows them to move forward.
By working with the collaborative team, clients get the best help for their money by using their allocated resources for the services which will best help them through the divorce process. By staying out of court, they keep their divorce private. The collaborative team consists of an attorney for each spouse, divorce coaches to deal with the emotions that frequently prevent a divorce from moving forward, a financial neutral who assembles the financial information and provides guidance regarding the finances, and if there are co-parenting concerns, a child specialist to address those needs.. Couples with children can keep them as the priority. The team help them work together as parents so they can both be present in the lives of their children in an amicable manner throughout their lives.
I have seen collaboration play an essential role in the not-unusual case of infidelity. Everyone involved is dramatically affected by this. In a litigated case, this hurtful act is dismissed as “irrelevant” (except in very limited circumstances). By contrast, , in a collaborative case, coaches have techniques for helping the couple talk about the elephants in the room so that they feel heard. Then they give them tools to equip them to be effective, present and better communicators in their divorce process.
The collaborative divorce process is a vehicle that provides a couple with a more efficient, respectful and productive way to resolve disputes and helps them move on with their lives.
LACFLA (Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collaborative divorce process. Please visit the site to lean more about collaborative divorce and find a professional you can talk to about whether collaborative divorce is right for you.
CalDisso.com (by Daigneault Law)