Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Trend In Marriage Dissolutions: Collaborative Divorces

"A lawyer is never entirely comfortable with a friendly divorce, anymore than a good mortician wants to finish his job and then have the patient sit up on the table."
--Jean Kerr

Imagine a world without messy divorce litigation.

The couple calling it quits would agree to separate based on the mutual agreement of their attorneys. The attorneys would agree to negotiate amicably or drop out of the case, and expert witnesses would be neutral, mutually agreed upon and paid for by both sides.

Sound like a far-fetched idea? It is already here and being touted by Florida's Chief Judge Joseph P. Farina as a kinder, gentler way to handle a divorce. The judge last month signed an administrative order authorizing the collaborative model of family law to be used in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

The model works like this: if a couple wants a divorce, the husband and wife go to different attorneys who are designated as collaborative lawyers. Working together, the lawyers agree on a neutral set of experts, and the lawyers come to an agreement on the value of the marital assets.

In a divorce, "the argument is over what people make," noted Administrative Judge Joel H. Brown of the Family Division. With both parties attempting to mutually disclose financial information, the collaborative method "totally de-escalates the emotional impact because it's not adversarial," he said. Read the whole article.

Collaborative divorce. The term sounds like an oxymoron in a culture steeped in high-cost, high-conflict breakups.

Yet many couples are embracing the approach,recently endorsed by the American Bar Association, as part of a broader quest tofind more civilized, efficient ways to end a marriage. Do-it-yourself divorces and mediation also are popular options.

Lawyers by the thousands want to be part of the trend.

"Most of us had that moment where we realize the adversarial process is so damaging for our clients — and there's a recognition that we can do better," said Talia Katz, a former divorce lawyer who is executive director of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

Katz said the academy, just eight years old, now has 3,000 members, mostly lawyers but also financial planners and other professionals. She estimates that 20,000 attorneys have received training in collaborative law, and groups promoting the practice are active nationwide. Read more….


* DivorceNet - Three Avenues to Divorce
* Collaborative Divorces On Rise
Save Your Pocket Book And Your Sanity


* The Social Health of Marriage in America for year 2004. Among those men in the report, 53% said they were not interested in getting married anytime soon — the marriage delayers. That figure alone is cause for concern. But this is the statistic that every American who wants to strengthen and protect marriage should be worried about: 22% of the men said they had absolutely no interest in
finding their Truly Beloved. The report described these guys as "hardcore marriage avoiders." When almost one-quarter of single men in their prime courting years — that's two million potential husbands — declare a Marriage Strike, we're facing an unprecedented social crisis.

*The Marriage Strike from the Perceptions vs. Reality Blog

* Newspaper Wrings Hands Over Abused Pets While Ignoring Lack of Services for
Abused Men


* It's hard to get rid of a bad judge,
* Sudden Divorce Syndrome – excellent article.

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