When folks are going through divorce, oftentimes they reveal things that are embarrassing and which they kept secret from their spouse. The collaborative divorce process offers a supportive environment in which to do this.
In the video below, Joryn Jenkins, Esq., of Open Palm Law describes one such incident that happened in a collaborative matter.
Below is a transcript, lightly edited for clarity:
I saw a man tell a secret. His wife had become angry over the years. They’d been separated and he wasn’t paying as much child support as he used to.He used to pay not just what was required but he’d pay extra. However, it got to the point where she could never get any extra child support for her children.In the collaborative process he explained to her what had happened to his finances. He’d been arrested, and it was very embarrassing. It’s a long story, but he explained it in the safety of the process. The funny thing is she got really angry, and this is where I became not a lawyer but more of a facilitator.I took her out of the room and I said, “You seem more upset than anything else. Why are you angry with him?And she said, “Because we were always best friends. Even when we separated, we were best friends. We were best friends in high school. And I don’t understand why he didn’t tell me, why he didn’t trust me.”I said to her, “It’s not that he didn’t trust you. It’s that he values your respect so much he didn’t know that he could explain to you well enough what had happened. In the room he could, and he did, and now you get it, right?”And she did she got it. These people got divorced, and we all went to the divorce hearing. We walked out of the courthouse, and the professionals were hanging back behind the newly-divorce couple. She put her arm around him and she said, “You know, I will always love you. I don’t want to be married to you, but I will always love you.”We really help people learn to talk to each other, to communicate better, to problem-solve. And they leave us in the process not just with their divorce decree, but with a new relationship.So they’ve really restructured their family instead of destroyed it.
Adam B. Cordover is co-editor and co-author of an American Bar Association book on Collaborative Divorce. Adam has trained professionals throughout the U.S., Canada, Israel, and France how to offer collaborative services. He is on the Boards of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals.