Cynthia Schwarzkopf, daughter of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr, discusses how she and her husband utilized the collaborative family law process to dissolve her marriage in a video released by the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group.
You can see the video below the jump:
Cynthia relays that she chose the collaborative process because she had many friends who had gone through ugly divorces, and that is not what she wanted for her family. Her father, though he was an accomplished general in the U.S. Army, firmly believed in diplomacy and resolving disputes face-to-face. Collaborative law gave her and her husband the opportunity to discuss issues in a way that prevented them from going to war against one another.
Her biggest concern, of course, was her child. Cynthia knew that a judge’s function was simply to execute the law, and she could not predict what would be the outcome. So, in her case, it was comfortable working with a mental health professional who was looking out for her son during the process. This professional really helped her and her co-parent agree on a flexible parenting plan that was tailor-made for their child.
If the divorce had happened in a courtroom setting, she knew that a judge simply could not take the time to get to know her, her husband, and her child to create such a plan.
As general’s daughter, privacy was important to her. She did not want her divorce to be in the public realm. The last thing that she wanted was the most uncomfortable and difficult time in her life to be exposed to the public. Instead, discussions were confidential and held in private offices rather than in the public courthouse.
She said that there is something to be said about sitting around a table with both parents and with the professional team, including the facilitator and financial professional, to discuss face-to-face what each other’s intentions are moving forward, and what intentions are during the divorce process.
Cynthia acknowledged that there were times when she and her husband did not agree, and discussions did at times get heated. But, at the end of the day, they were able to come to a resolution together, in person, that they felt would be best moving forward in ending their marriage.
She also mentioned that while interdisciplinary collaborative divorce may be more expensive than a non-collaborative case where there is a short term marriage, no children, and little to no joint assets and debts, it can be a whole lot less expensive than a litigation approach. Further, the collaborative process ended up being more financially beneficial, and she got a great deal more out of it for what she was paying.
Finally, she stated the following: “It wasn’t always easy, but there were moments of agreement and moments of collaboration that I don’t think we would have had if we hired two litigating attorneys to communicate on our behalves…I think that we would have just increased our paranoia and anger at one another. I think we made the right choice. It gives you a chance to move forward.”
If you have questions about how the collaborative divorce process can help you and your family through a difficult time here in Tampa Bay, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, Florida’s largest collaborative practice group. Adam is a frequent presenter on the topic of collaborative divorce, and he has been interviewed on the topic by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Bay News 9, Fox 13, NBC 8, ABC Action News, and the World of Collaborative Practice Magazine.