After resolving close to two hundred collaborative divorce cases over the past 18 years, I agree wholeheartedly with Mahatma Gandhi. The joy in helping spouses resolve their conflict in a dignified manner is a joy that is both professionally and spiritually rewarding.
During my nineteen years of law practice prior to beginning the collaborative practice, I was involved in the adversarial process where there was normally a winner and a loser. Spouses who were left financially and emotionally bereft by the court system didn’t learn how to work together and have to resort to going back to the courts whenever they have differences.
“I realized that the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder.
In resolving their family matters through the collaborative process, spouses are choosing to take control of their own lives and make decisions together that result in a win-win agreement. Here the spouses learn to problem solve jointly in a way that allows them to resolve future issues, by themselves, without the help of attorneys or the court system.
“The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases.”
As the collaborative divorce attorney in both low and high conflict family cases, I am able to help guide spouses through a process that both protects them and allows them the flexibility to craft an agreement that is specific to their particular issues. It is a process that does not box them into the decisions often mandated by the court system, but allows them to be creative in finding new ideas.
When my client leaves after having signed the agreement with his or her spouse, I feel as Gandhi must have felt so many years ago… A joy that is boundless for having helped my client through a time that is emotionally difficult and scary to navigate.
– Jeff Seigle