We blog about helping Long Island families to resolve conflicts in the most productive ways possible.

Sep 14, 2015BY: Harriette Steinberg

Design Your Divorce: Where Do You Stand?

You can literally design your own divorce today, just like the world’s best-known celebrities do. Yes! Beyond selecting high-profile attorneys, the stars can time the day and place of their announcement, decide which favored tabloids win the scoop, and more – all orchestrated for the most lucrative impact on their star power.

Oh, you say you’re not famous outside of your family, your neighborhood or your job? And the paparazzi are not camped outside your door, salivating for your up-to-the-minute divorce news?

Not to worry. Just remember, “Where you stand depends on where you sit.” A bad divorce will contaminate any memories of a good marriage and will often make permanent headlines in your own life story!

Three popular divorce styles are now available to launch you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse on your separate paths: courtroom litigation, divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Let’s examine your options.

Column A: Looking for an expensive, noisy, acrimonious, long-drawn-out fight-to-the-end? Easy! Pick the traditional adversarial litigation method, with a built-in courtroom drama feature and a presiding judge who will single-handedly decide both of your fates. This time-honored divorce format has provided us with dicey off-screen entertainment from many film and TV icons.

Celebrity divorce litigation couples: Alec Baldwin v. Kim Bassinger. Philanthropist Heather Mills v. former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. Long Island celeb parents Michael Lohan v. Dina Lohan.

Column B: Prefer a more civilized, cozy, face-to-face dissolution? You and your almost-ex can meet with a neutral professional mediator who will guide you across the great chasm to the other side, outside of the cold courtroom setting. You will both share information and work through your issues for a calmer divorce outcome. Limitation: the mediator cannot give advice to either of you or act as a lawyer for either party.

Celebrity divorce mediation couples: Movie stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Golf royalty Tiger Woods v. Elin Nordegren. Hollywood superstars Tom Cruise v. Nicole Kidman. TV’s ER actor Noah Wyle v. wife Tracy.

Column C: One more to go. If you can’t stomach Column A or B, then listen up. Eager to lessen the hurt and anger, establish a new common ground based on your shared goals, learn new communications skills to use during and after the process, and build a mutually satisfactory bridge to your separate futures? Then Column C is for you. You ask how can all of these worthy goals be accomplished, if a divorce is still a divorce?

Collaborative divorce uses a unique team approach to address your legal, financial and emotional needs at such a trying time. Team members include each spouse’s attorney, one neutral financial professional and one neutral family specialist. The team agrees on and enforces rules for civil conduct, uses meeting agendas and notes to keep the forward momentum, and encourages a positive attitude.

Celebrity collaborative divorce couples: Singer/actress Madonna and director Guy Ritchie, considered the first high-profile couple to divorce collaborative-style. Actor-comedian Robin Williams, along with his wife of 19 years, Marcia Garces Williams, told the press, “We commit ourselves to the collaborative law process and agree to seek a positive way to resolve our differences justly and equitably.” Movie director Cameron Crowe and singer Nancy Wilson of the rock band Heart.

More about Collaborative Divorce:

  • An interdisciplinary process that brings multiple perspectives to the table as the divorcing parties seek to untangle their alignments.
  • Proven to have the strongest and most lasting solutions.
  • Enables your “family” to continue after the marriage ends – because good endings lead to better beginnings.
  • Since one spouse’s economic well-being typically remains connected to the other spouse’s to some degree, this method is grounded on open financial disclosure.

The author, Harriette Steinberg, is a member of the Collaborative Divorce Resolutions law group of Long Island which is an association of attorneys, family specialists and financial neutrals specializing in the collaborative process. If you would like to learn how this alternative to traditional divorce litigation can work for you, feel free to contact Harriette Steinberg. Contact information along with a brief bio can be found on the author's profile page. Simply click or tap the author's image or the "View Profile" link on this page.

Filed in: Collaboration or Litigation or Mediation