Outside his Suffolk County, NY courtroom, the late Justice Donald Blydenburgh had proudly posted a letter from an Assistant Attorney General who thanked him for passing on news of tax evasion revealed in a divorce case. While it is not the role of any lawyer – collaborative or otherwise – to assist a client to evade taxes, there are times when some matters are best kept private.
The value of privacy is not limited to “cash businesses” or “off-the-books” earnings. There are, perhaps, as many “none-of-your-business” categories as there are divorces. However, when couples in a Collaborative Divorce commit themselves to “transparency,” meaning a full, voluntary, open disclosure of all relevant information, their team of collaborative lawyers, coaches, and neutral financial experts can help the couple craft the best overall resolution within a private, confidential forum.
Whether a spouse likes to privately view Internet porn, or has been prescribed medication for a personality disorder, or has started to socialize as a “single,” in almost all cases these matters are best kept “in the family.” That’s true for both the family that is intact or one transitioning to a “divorced family.”
On the other hand, launching divorce litigation with the traditional inflammatory affidavit drafted by a “warrior” attorney looking to place the “other” spouse in the worst possible light, is not a productive way to resolve the end of the marriage if the real goal is to move on with your lives.
Divorce is not pleasant for anyone involved, ever. Why would it be? But subjecting your spouse’s business associates to subpoenas and a formal inquiry styled more as an attack is not, even in the short run, the best approach. For good or bad, vindication and vengeance have no place in the court system. The judge is not going to tell you that you were right, that you were a good wife or husband, and that we are now going to punish your husband or wife for walking out on you.
The Collaborative Divorce team, from the very first meeting, acts to focus you on moving forward productively. Necessary information to assess the division of assets, support, parenting decisions, etc., will all be obtained – but within an atmosphere of security and purpose.
Lawyers who “collaborate” do not abdicate their role as advocates and advisors. In the Collaborative Divorce process, we represent our own clients, committed to reaching by agreement the best possible resolution, while causing the least amount of damage and baggage.
One way or another, when a couple has decided to divorce, the marriage will end. The parties will try to pick up the pieces of their lives: financially, socially, as co-parents, and in the other areas of their lives. Why would you select a litigation process designed to shine the harshest of lights upon the most private of moments?