Other Peoples’ Divorces
Do you ever read about other people’s divorces?
As a lawyer I do all the time. Ordinarily, however, I am reading what they refer to as the “advance sheets”, little books that include the most recent cases coming out of the Washington State Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
But one day I read one that gave me pause. A link came to me through LinkedIn and I was taken to an article called The Million Dollar Botched Divorce.
What can one say about a couple that pays $7.4 million dollars . . . . . . . . in attorneys’ fees!! Or about the attorneys who charged the fees? Then the wife’s attorney, contrary to a ruling already made by the court, refers to something the court had made off limits and manufactured a mistrial. And who benefited from the mistrial? Not the husband or wife. Not the court. It was the attorneys who had a vested interest in keeping their clients from communicating with each other and who could continue to charge the clients as they prepared for a second trial.
What struck me, however, and this is the relevance of the article to Collaborative Practice, is the shift that took place when the husband, and then the wife, made the choice to take back the power and authority they had ceded to their respective attorneys. The husband’s litigation attorney disliked that so much he flied a preemptive lawsuit against his own client for alleged unpaid fees.
Once free of their litigation attorneys the husband and wife started to dialogue and with the help of an interdisciplinary collaborative team they were able to resolve their differences in short order, in part because the financial information had been gathered in the litigation process. In large part, however, the case resolved quickly because, unlike the litigation counsel who restricted conversation, the collaborative practitioners facilitated discussion between the parties.
So read about the $100 Million Dollar Botched Divorce and know that it does NOT have to be yours. Take the time when considering what process to use in your divorce action to speak to a collaborative practitioner who can help you realize a process that allows YOU to be the focus, rather than your checkbook.