Fifteen or twenty years ago, the norm was, “I want to get divorced, and there’s only one way. We go to court. We both find attorneys, whether we talk about it or battle it, and we go to court.” I think today we have a new norm, and the new norm today is that there are different alternative dispute resolutions out there. We have mediation, we have collaborative, we have arbitration, and then a model that we’re working in called integrated divorce. The most cost effective way is that the parties can sit at the kitchen table and talk about it and make agreements, but if they make an error in the process it can be costly to them.
In the models that I work in, we use coaches, financial neutrals, and attorneys. They can go out and hire a coach to help with the parenting plan, and they can hire a financial neutral to help with the financials, and then give it to the attorneys to be drawn up into legal documents. Clients that are willing to use one of these models are the clients that this process works well for.
Does this process work for every single couple? No, I don’t think it does. I think that if one party has injured the other, for example the emotional pain of infidelity, a divorce is harder to stomach because there’s anger and strong emotion. But I’m seeing more and more clients whose children are graduating high school and leaving for college, and mom and dad are deciding, “You know, we really haven’t been happy, so we’ve done our job of raising the kids, of getting them through. Now let’s get divorced, but let’s do it the way we want to do it, and not do it the way somebody says we have to.” Those are the type of clients that I think work best for me.