Collaborative Lawyers and High Profile Divorce
I hear a lot of about collaborative lawyers and the good work they do helping couples navigate the complex process of separation and divorce.
Perhaps the collaborative model would be best for Brexit – legal advice to hand, yet ultimately, collaboration and clear communication (rather than game-playing) the order of the day? And a lot more private too.
Several celebrity couples have gone through a collaborative divorce. Singer and performer Madonna and her former husband director Guy Ritchie are considered to be the first celebrity couple who went public about using collaborative law. Comedian Robin Williams and his wife chose to use the collaborative divorce process in 20018. Williams is quoted as saying: “We will strive to be honest, cooperative and respectful as we work in this process to achieve the future well-being of our families. We commit ourselves to the collaborative law process.” More recently, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren reportedly used collaborative divorce.
Avoiding conflict is always going to be the most sensible way to reach an agreement, despite the high emotional and financial stakes.
Like any conflictual divorce case, there are participants who feel justified in alienating their previous partner and believing that they are ‘in the right’ – and meanwhile the children suffer. Could it be that whilst Britain and Europe argue out the terms of their divorce, that other countries will be badly affected? Does breakup tend to mean selfishness and insular thought?
It is a great shame that so few people are aware of the benefits of Collaborative Divorce – or that it even exists at all. Like mediation, the focus is often on the children, which tends to make the decisions of their parents more long-term and sustainable. Based less upon fear and more upon taking joint responsibility of their children’s future.
“The collaborative divorce process is where you and your former partner can, with the help of your chosen solicitors, sit down in the same room and work through each and every problem face to face.
These meetings enable you and your family to resolve the issues that concern you the most, with the involvement, if necessary, of other professionals to assist in the process. These may include Financial Advisors or Family Consultants.” James Belderbos: Collaborative Practitioner and Family Lawyer
Couples are morally required to do what is in the best interest of the children e.g. access to co-parenting classes or working with an expert in creating co-parenting agreements and facilitating communication with the wider family relationships. In some States in America, taking a parenting class is obligatory when divorcing – and perhaps before the Brexit breakup it would have been better for the world community if the UK and Europe had undergone some tuition in healthy communication?
I think collaborative lawyers need to have a louder voice and to make their work more accessible to divorcing couples, and also those forming cohabitation agreements or resolving family issues where both financial and therapeutic experts can be invited into the collaborative law sessions.
If top celebrities can do it – so can we.
Victoria Sharman is a qualified counsellor with over 20 years experience helping couples and families make the changes they need to relieve distress and improve the quality of their important relationships.
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