Around the world, and especially with clients who are informed and want to protect their families, Collaborative Divorce is becoming the Choice of Informed and Insightful Clients.
After practicing law for nearly 40 years, with my focus primarily in the family law arena, I have seen a sea change in couple’s thinking. I guess, after doing a large number of successful Collaborative Divorce cases and having clients’ feedback be so positive despite a very sad and trying time, what I cannot understand is why anyone who has to go through a divorce would choose anything BUT a Collaborative Divorce.
Why air your dirty laundry in the public forum of a courtroom where a stranger to you, your spouse and your children, is making decisions that will affect your family a hundred years from now when you could have a team of professionals who are specially trained in a process that protects your privacy, your children and your family relationships?
The biggest challenge we have, as Collaborative Divorce attorneys, is helping clients know that this process is out there because, after all, if people are coming to us to protect their privacy, they are not going to typically go on a television program or online talking about their case, even if they were pleased that they made the choice to use the Collaborative Process over litigation/Court. Thankfully, there are more and more people willing to go public with their choice and their experiences to let others who come after them know that this option is available.
While it is not known for sure, because people who are high-profile especially want their privacy protected, many people believe, based on what could be seen, that Robin Williams’ divorce from his second wife, Marsha Barces, had the attributes of a Collaborative Divorce. When he died in 2014, this is what she said: “My heart is split wide open and scattered over the planet with all of you. Please remember the gentle, loving, generous — and yes, brilliant and funny — man that was Robin Williams. My arms are wrapped around our children as we attempt to grapple with celebrating the man we love, while dealing with this immeasurable loss.”
Instead of being bitter at each other for the rest of their lives, clients who work through their issues in the Collaborative Process are able to find reconciliation and hold onto or restore an amicable relationship even if they are not longer able to be a couple.
And who are the beneficiaries of that insightfulness? The parties’ children, families and friends. Many people also speculate that the Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos divorce was handled in the Collaborative Divorce process because it was finalized by a judge in the Seattle area where Collaborative Divorce has become a well-known and embraced option for divorcing couples for over twenty years. When couples divorce with compassion, instead of going forward with bitterness they move forward with compassion.
A good example of that is that MacKenzie Bezos has agreed to leave her ex-husband in charge of managing 75% of the parties’ shares in Amazon, and she signed on in May to “the Giving Pledge” in which some other world’s richest people have agreed to give away at least half their wealth to charity. It seems that when people are able to divorce with compassion, it can sometimes help not just the parties’ family and friends, but the whole world.
Just imagine if most divorces could be handled in the Collaborative Divorce process, what a difference it would make? We can only hope that couples like Bill and Melinda Gates, who have been leaders in the world, and whose privacy should be protected during this challenging time for their family, will, like others who are leaders, show how progressive, insightful people can divorce with compassion and dignity for themselves and their families.