June 9, 2011 1:16 pm Published by Comments Off on One-Size-Fits-All-Divorce

David told me he’s noticed that I spend a lot of time responding to emails. He is correct. And, with time moving so fast and so much to do it seems a waste to spend that kind of time without reaching the largest audience. This blog post is an attempt to record writings that would otherwise be lost.  This is a conversation I had today with a local lawyer about the differences between Collaborative Law and our Friendly Divorce process.


You know that there are attorneys who believe in the concept of Friendly Divorce (especially myself). I am not sure that marketing your Friendly Divorce program  with the spin of “using lawyers for divorces will be the exception, not the norm” is the best or proper approach. Having gone through a very difficult and expensive divorce (for a divorce that really should have been quite simple), I have some of my own ideas of how to improve the divorce process and system that I am implementing in my own practice. Also, if you are offering attorney CLE credit to a program that is designed to eliminate the lawyer, I think you have a major inconsistency. Let me know if you would like to discuss further.


Paul (name changed)
From: []
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 2:58 PM
To: Paul
Subject: Re: Divorce Revolution

I hear you. And, you make a very interesting point. As I see it there is a difference between a lawyer-driven divorce and using lawyers as consultants. My quote is “Ten years from now lawyer-driven divorces will be the exception not the rule.” Clearly, there is no one size fits all process for divorcing couples. Right now a lot of people dont have the resources or desire to pay divorce attorneys and doing it themselves is not an option. My method offers another choice. As you know, the legal services world is changing – very quickly – so those who figure out how to meet the public’s changing demands will survive and thrive. Others (as we have already seen) will fall by the way side.

I am so passionate about this that I always want to discuss further.

Best, Elinor

In a message dated 6/9/2011 3:14:07 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Paul writes:

Are you familiar with Collaborative Divorce?
From: []
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 3:17 PM
To: Paul
Subject: Re: Divorce Revolution

Yes. Great idea but its a difficult sell and can be very expensive. Maybe not as expensive as hiring two pit bulls but still costly. There is no one-size-fits-all. The more options you can offer the bigger the net you cast.
In a message dated 6/9/2011 4:05:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Paul writes:

Define costly.
From: []
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011
To: Paul
Subject: Re: Divorce Revolution

I would say $6000. A lot of people dont have $6000 or dont want to spend the $6000 they have. These are unusual times. We are seeing people living in million dollar houses with negative net worths. Some still have decent incomes but they have committed every cent they make. And, $6000 is a totally bare bones divorce with two lawyers involved. In addition, they are also looking at divorce coaches – which are a key part of the process for Collaborative purists plus a financial expert. I think its difficult to have a Collaborative divorce for under $10K. Do you think that is far off the mark?

If someone doesn’t know how much there is or where it is they need a lawyer to check things out. No doubt about it. But, if one believes that s/he is knowledgeable about the finances, even if they dont want to pay a lawyer to “discover,” the lawyer still needs some level of investigation to protect him/herself if the lawyer is retained. (That is why I like the idea of using lawyers as consultants).

But, money aside, the bottom line is there is a whole generation of people who lived through their parents’ divorces and saw the legal system divide and destroy their families. Many of these people are afraid of using lawyers for family problems. They are demanding another process. Some will embrace the collaborative model, others will not.

BTW, a friend of mine (a lawyer) on the West coast (FL) spent $80K on his no-children Collaborative divorce. The Collaborative process gives the un-monied, divorce resistant spouse a huge advantage. My friend was the monied spouse who wanted out. His wife was able to drag things out until he couldn’t take it anymore and caved – on everything.


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