DIVORCE OPTIONS

Sometimes life happens, mistakes are made, trust is broken, and for any number of reasons we find ourselves choosing a divorce.  It is at this point in time that we should carefully evaluate our divorce options, plan and choose wisely.  The most common divorce option is litigation.  Litigation is not the only option.

 

LITIGATION MODEL:  This is the process that is more often than not, the most destructive, and the most costly process both emotionally and financially.  Your lawyer will go into court and take positions that are designed to create a win for you and a loss for your spouse.  In so doing, within the win-loss mentality, the needs of the family can become lost.   Litigation is a very public process where the decision making is accomplished by the Judge and the lawyers.  Court calendars are driven by case management instead of the needs of the individual family.

 

 

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE FULL TEAM MODEL:  This is a team process where the family hires a team of collaborative professionals, each trained to meet the legal, emotional, financial or parenting needs of the family.  The full team consist of 2 lawyers, 2 divorce coaches, 1 neutral financial and 1 child specialist.  It may sound overly expensive because of the number of professionals involved; however, statistics support the conclusion that the full team is less expensive than hiring 2 litigators to duke it out.  The divorcing couple “opts out” of the judicial system, works with their team of professionals to achieve a peaceful resolution of their family’s concerns, and then an agreed upon judgment is submitted back to the court for the Judge’s signature.  This is a no court divorce.  This is a divorce process that is specifically designed to meet the needs of the family, to address their unique hopes and concerns, and to position them to achieve success as they define it for themselves.

 

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE HYBRID TEAM MODEL:  This is a team process where the family hires a team of collaborative professionals, each trained to meet the legal, emotional, financial or parenting needs of the family.  Instead of using the full team, the family with the help of a Collaborative Divorce Professional designs a smaller Collaborative Team that is intended to meet the family’s unique needs.  The “Team” might consist of 1 collaborative mediator, 1 or 2 divorce coaches, 1 neutral financial and 1 child specialist.  It might also consist of 1 collaborative lawyer\mediator and 1 divorce coach working together to provide a co-mediation, or it might look like 1 collaborative lawyer, 1 divorce coach and 1 neutral financial working together to provide co-mediation Because each family is unique, their hybrid collaborative team will look different.  No matter how the hybrid team is shaped, the divorcing couple “opts out” of the judicial system, works with their team of professionals to achieve a peaceful resolution of their family’s concerns, and then an agreed upon judgment is submitted back to the court for the Judge’s signature.  This is a no court divorce.  This is a divorce process that is specifically designed to meet the needs of the family, to address their unique hopes and concerns, and to position them to achieve success as they define it for themselves.


MEDIATION:  Traditional mediation is the divorcing couple working with a mediator.  Sometimes the mediator will recommend to the couple that they bring in a specialist for a specific task, such as a child specialist or financial professional.  The divorcing couple “opts out” of the judicial system, works with their mediator to achieve a peaceful resolution of their family’s concerns, and then an agreed upon judgment is prepared.  Each party then takes the agreed upon judgment to their own consulting attorney who helps them understand the settlement, and discusses their unique concerns before the judgment is signed.  Then the judgment is submitted back to the court for the Judge’s signature.  This is a no court divorce.  This is a divorce process that is based in the law and is intended to meet the needs of the family.

 

LATTE METHOD:  The couple decides to meet at Starbuck’s; each orders a Latte, sits down and has a peaceful conversation about how to transition their family.  If they have a complete agreement they write down the basic components on a napkin, initial it, and take it to their local Legal Document Preparer, Paralegal Assistant or Divorce Attorney to prepare, process and complete the divorce paperwork necessary to finalize their agreed upon divorce based upon their mutual agreement and not based upon what someone else decides for them.  Sometimes a couple can agree on almost everything, but needs some help, so they can consult together on the area they need help in.  For example, they need a little help on completing their co-parenting plan, so they consult with a child specialist to assist them in completing their plan in a child centered way.  This is a no court divorce.  This is a divorce process that is based in the law and meets the needs of the family because it is created by the family for the family.


The divorce process can last anywhere from six months to two years or more.  We believe that as much effort that is put into the wedding is called for if the couple ends up divorcing.  Unfortunately, most couples spend months planning for a wedding event that spans less than a day, and spends little to no time planning a divorce process that can last from months to years.

 

At the end of the day, it is planning and evaluating choices that ultimately define our success as well as our failure.  I believe that if couples put as much effort into choosing a divorce process as they put into their wedding planning, there would be far more peaceful solutions, and far less unmet needs and wasted financial resources. 

 

We help the families in Southern California find peaceful solutions to their divorce by educating them about their divorce options and by equipping a new generation of professional peacemakers with exceptional skills to meet the needs of families in crisis and transition by providing and facilitating intermediate and advanced trainings.