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Hold Onto Your Hat

photo by RaidersLight via PhotoRee

This article by J. Richard Kulerski, a Chicago based divorce lawyer, is brilliant. What he says in this article we’ve been saying for years. Hallelujah, Mr. Kulerski.

From Hold Onto Your Hat: Introducing the New Way to Divorce:

The public is displeased with the divorce legal system, and sees it as too complicated, lengthy, and costly. The argument is that the system should satisfy society’s needs, not frustrate them. Heck, many soon-to-be exes are now spending more on their divorce than they did on their wedding. We need to change how we divorce, but the problem lies in figuring out what to change it to.

This is not as impossible as it sounds, but it does require our doing the last thing on earth that we want to do: treat our soon-to-be ex and their settlement position with respect and understanding. This does not mean being weak; it means being smart. Listening to their side of the story is the cheapest concession we can make.

This is the civilized approach to divorce. It calls for us to behave at our best, at a time in our lives when we are inclined to act at our worst. Up to now, we have felt entitled to act at our worst, and the result has been disastrous.

Read the full article…

A Friendly Divorce

“Friendly” and “divorce” aren’t words most people would typically choose to string together in a sentence, but this wonderful article by Karina Bland at the Chicago Sun Times explains exactly how people all over the country are discovering that divorces can, in fact, be friendly.

Most divorce cases still are handled in the traditional way, with lawyers on each side trying to get the best deal for their client, often through nasty disagreements over custody, child support, property settlements and finances. Divorcing couples typically aren’t feeling friendly toward each other anyway, and contentious experiences in court can make those feelings even worse.

“It makes it almost impossible to have a civil relationship going forward. You don’t forget what it’s like to be cross-examined by your spouse’s lawyer,” says family law attorney John Zarzynski, who co-founded Agreement House. “It sets them up for years and years of not being able to communicate well.”

Mediation is one kind of a friendly divorce. Collaboration is another, in which both parties retain their own attorneys but also use experts and work together for a solution for everyone. Couples don’t set foot in court in either instance. Proponents say it reduces the emotional costs on everyone; both children and adults start their new lives on relatively stable ground.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.