Growing Trend in Divorce Services Come to the Desert -- Collaborative Divorce

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Collaborative Divorce is a growing alternative to divorce court utilized by such well-known celebrities as Robin Williams and his wife; and Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. This out-of-court alternative is now available to desert residents, from Palm Springs to La Quinta, by Collaborative Divorce Services of Coachella Valley.

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Actor Alec Baldwin, author of the new book "Promise to Ourselves," recently said on Good Morning America that "the family law system is broken in California" and cites his years of anguishing divorce and child custody dispute with actress Kim Basinger as "exhausting and emotionally draining." But, there is a "kinder, gentler new way" for couples to split.

Collaborative Divorce is a growing alternative to divorce court and has been utilized by celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, several years ago in their divorce proceedings, as well as more recently by actor Robin Williams and his wife as well as Walt Disney's nephew, Roy Disney, who both filed for divorce earlier this year. This out-of-court alternative is now available to desert residents from Collaborative Divorce Services of Coachella Valley (http://www.collaborativedivorceservices.com).

"In traditional litigation, your case is handed over to an attorney and the decisions are up to a judge who knows nothing about you or your family," says Brian Levy, ESQ an Attorney/Mediator with Collaborative Divorce Services of Coachella Valley. "The result is you have very little control over the process. Often, your case can take years to complete and is very costly financially and emotionally to your family."

In comparison, Collaborative Divorce is faster (cases normally take about six months), less costly (typically a third of the cost of a litigated case), and completely private (both parties agree not to litigate, nor use information against each other). Collaborative professionals are committed to resolving disputes respectfully in a non-adversarial way. The team is comprised of the following members, specially trained to meet the legal, emotional and financial needs of the couple:

  • One collaborative attorney who serves as a collaborative mediator
  • Two collaborative divorce coaches for the husband and wife (each have their own).
  • One neutral financial professional.
  • A child specialist, if applicable, to allow the children to have a voice in the process.

The idea of collaborative family law was first formed by a Minnesota attorney, Stu Webb, back in 1990. Burned out with the adversarial legal system, he simply declared he wasn't going to court anymore. Like-minded colleagues followed suit, and soon a new way of getting divorced started spreading across the country.

Today, according to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) web site (http://www.collaborativepractice.com), there are over 400 professionals practicing collaborative divorce in Southern California alone. In addition, legislation was passed late last year that incorporated collaborative law into California's Family Code.

And several judges are starting to endorse this alternative. In a May 2008 interview for Los Angeles Times Magazine, Los Angeles County Supervising Family Law Judge Marjorie Steinberg was asked the "smoothest way to sail through a divorce" she responded, "There's collaborative law, where you pick one lawyer for the two of you."

To find out more about Collaborative Divorce Services of Coachella Valley, go to http://www.collaborativedivorceservices.com or call 760-778-0044.

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