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In Plain English

Two children are in the kitchen fighting over an orange.  Their father walks in, sees what’s going on and decides to put an end to it.  He grabs the orange from their hands, puts it on the chopping block, cuts it in half and gives half to his son and half to his daughter.

Both children burst into tears.  Astonished, the father turns to his son and says, “Johnny, why are you crying?”
“I wanted the whole orange!”  Johnny says, sobbing.
“You can’t have the whole orange, there’s only one orange.  You have to share it with your sister.  Stop crying.”  Then he turns to his daughter and says, “Suzy, why are you crying?”
Suzy sniffles and says, “Daddy, I didn’t want the orange at all.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“I only wanted the peel.  I need it for an icing recipe for a cake I just baked.  But I have to have the whole peel.”
The father scratches his beard, thoughtfully.  “You only wanted the outside of the orange?”
Suzy nods her head sadly, a fat tear dripping from her chin.  “Yes.”
“Can Johnny have the inside of the orange?”
Her eyes widen and she bounces on her toes.  “Yes!”
“Johnny? Will you give your sister the orange peel if she lets you have the inside of the orange?”
Little Johnny’s face brightens and he clasps his hands together.  “Yes! Of course! I didn’t even want the crummy old peel!”

***

The truth about litigated divorce is that the judge doesn’t have the time, the inclination or the imagination to find out what your interests are.  When you get a traditional, litigated divorce, you get distributive bargaining.  The judge is following the law.  He’s lead by the rules and the statutes.

With Collaborative Divorce, as well as with mediation or The Kitchen Table Divorce, there is creativity and imagination.  Your wants, your needs, and your fears are heard, acknowledged, and understood.  Your spouse’s wants and needs and fears are heard, acknowledged and understood.  It’s impossible to be angry or hateful towards someone you understand.

You went into your marriage with love.  If you’re getting a divorce, you have the opportunity to reorganize your life with love.  It’s your choice.

Should I hire an attorney?

Only an attorney can tell you whether or not you need an attorney.

“The problem with being human is that you don’t know what you don’t know.  Even when people come into my office and they just want to use a paralegal, my practice is always to say, ‘That’s great, but let’s just spend a couple of minutes reviewing the main points of the agreement to see if  you’ve covered everything, if you’ve left out anything, if you’ve overlooked something or have been remiss in someway.’  Sometimes we’re able to tell a client that, great news!  They don’t need an attorney!  In those cases, a client can just work with a paralegal and they can get a very, very low cost, affordable dissolution.”  —  Ron Supancic, CFLS.

The Seven Options for Divorce: Number 1

The Kitchen Table

Most people don’t know this, but there are several different options if you’re thinking about getting a divorce.  The first option is called The Kitchen Table Divorce.

In a Kitchen Table Divorce, the couple sits down at the kitchen table with a pad of paper and a pen and they create a plan.  They say, “Here’s what we’re going to do about the kids, here’s how we’re going to pay the bills, here’s what we’re going to do with the property, and we’ll split the cost of whatever it costs to hire someone to put this all in writing.”

With this kind of divorce a couple doesn’t need to hire attorneys and they certainly won’t ever see the inside of a courtroom.  California has a new professional: the Licensed Document Assistant or LDA.  LDA’s are not paralegals, they’re not lawyers, they don’t give you advice.  But if you’re going to have a Kitchen Table Divorce you can hire an LDA, tell them what you want and they’ll fill out the forms for you.  It’s the fastest, cheapest, most efficient way to get a divorce.

Option 1:  The Kitchen Table
Option 2:  Mediation
Option 3:  Collaborative Divorce
Option 4:  Arbitration
Option 5:  Negotiation in the Shadow of Litigation
Option 6:  Rent-A-Judge
Option 7: Litigation