There was an excellent article in the Huffington Post this week entitled "What Do Divorce Lawyers Do In Their Own Divorces?" CLICK HERE to read.
The statistics have been steady for years and years - less than 10% of filed cases make it to trial. That means that even if you start your divorce in the litigation system, the likelihood of actually going to trial is very slim. But when does settlement occur? After legal fees have been spent and everyone is emotionally depleted, relationships are in tatters, and the parenting relationship feels irreparable?
The line that caught me in the article was this: "...insiders realize they will not get to vent and speak their minds in court... They know their emotions, feelings, and pain do not count in a courtroom".
I wish people knew the deep truth in these statements. The litigation system is not designed to hear and process people's stories. It does not create space for people's hopes or adequately address their worries. There is no place for emotions in the courtroom. The litigation system can't acknowledge the pain and hurt that is so prevalent in the breakdown of relationships.
We always start the first collaborative four-way meeting by finding out what matters to the parties. What do they want their life to look like in five years? What is worrying them right now? What needs to be talked about in order for them to be able to fully and peacefully resolve all of the issues that they are currently facing?
The entire collaborative process is designed to work through the realities of divorce - emotional, practical and legal. It's not about number crunching or proving narrow legal points. Clients participating in the Collaborative process definitely get to vent (we try to aim that venting in a positive and not destructive place!) and speak their minds. Real resolution depends on getting to the heart of the conflict.