Welcome to My Collaborative Law Divorce.org

This site was established in Sept 2007 and designed to help you better understand and avoid the pitfalls of Collaborative Law (CL) Divorce, a relatively new arrival on the family law scene. Collaborative Law Divorce or just Collaborative Divorce for short, is widely promoted now as an inexpensive and "sane" way to get a divorce and it has many features that are not found in traditional approaches. There are controversial aspects of this method as well. This site was created as a result of the author's personal experiences in getting a CL divorce in California in 2006-2007...



(October 2007):Additions to Author's story were added after emails from his file were retrieved from lawyer. The emails served to help paint a clearer picture of what happened during the divorce and bolster some of the speculations made in the telling of the plot. See Postscript for the additions or Story for the whole story...

(October 2007): Correction made to CL differences page here. Author originally thought confidentiality was not part of collaborative divorce, but the CL rules must not violate state laws regarding confidentiality, but rather work together with them. This is corrected.

(November 2007): Review of Pauline Tesler's book, "Collaborative Divorce" added. This book is widely marketed as a definitive guide to the collaborative divorce process and it was written by one of the attorneys in the author's actual case. The book was reviewed and some portions related back to author's story.

(January 2008) : Link added in links page from mediation site showing a commentary on CL by attorneys in the field. One is interesting in that it talks about a formal opinion of the ABA in Aug 2007 that states that CL attorneys must follow the basic rules of professional conduct. Those include lawyer-client confidentiality and basic advocacy, which were problem areas in Author's case...

(March 2008, June 2008) : State Bar Complaint against collaborative lawyers Seltzer and Tesler: In the Official Documents page, find a new link to Author's bar complaint against the lawyers in the case described on this site. The CA State Bar rejected the complaints, but seemingly has a poor grasp of the core elements of collaborative divorce, for example stating that the attorneys did not violate professional codes of conduct by revealing confidential information of clients. This confused the author originally too. Violating the collaborative contract was not important to the bar examiners as well. Welcome to the Wild West! CL is in need of reform... Note how this opinion differs from that of the American Bar Association (ABA) as shown in the Links page under the mediate.com link.

(September 2008) : Author was recently contacted by someone who is filing a complaint against a collaborative attorney. In that case, six months of arduous process andmany legal fees led to a unusable flawed settlement. The collaborative attorney dropped the case necessitating a re-start from zero! What did the couple do? They went to mediation and solved the case in a short time for around 1/6 the money. Collaborative time/money lost...

(January 2009): New divorce story contributed to Forums section by a new member. The story mirrors some aspects of the Author's story interestingly. Appeal from Author: PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO THIS SITE by submitting your story to the Forums Section! This site was published to help you avoid the pitfalls of Collaborative Divorce as experienced and identified by the Author and others. While divorce is painful under any circumstances, please take the time to share your experience on this site to better guide others through the process. It may help you move on and help to provide a cathartic feeling as well. A little help can go a long way! Thanks..

(February 2011): New divorce story contributed to Forums section by a new member. The story also mirrors many of the warnings presented on this site. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO THIS SITE TO HELP OTHERS by submitting your story to the Forums Section! Thanks..

(May 2016): Fixed a number of links in the "Links" page that had gone stale.

If you're visiting this site, chances are you're in a very vulnerable and emotional state (or maybe planning one). Perhaps your husband or wife was unfaithful to you, or perhaps you just could not make things work out. You're seeking a split from each other and as painful as that prospect may be, or even if it is "all for the best", you're still legally bound together until the divorce becomes final. You may have heard about a "new" form of divorce that is less antagonistic than traditional means. Collaborative Law sounds like a sane alternative to the knock-down drag-em-out fights that often take place between divorcing couples. My experience was quite the opposite however, and I created this site to share my story and alert readers to the pitfalls of CL divorce. If you're thinking of signing a CL divorce contract with your spouse, then read on and think again. If you're already in a CL contract, then this site may be able to help you avoid a quagmire of endless collaborative meetings, expense, and headaches. In any case, the experiences and thoughts related here are to help you decide what is best for you during a time when we all need help!

The basic concepts of Collaborative Divorce sound very rational and this site is not making the claim that CL cannot work. Rather, it identifies the characteristics of CL and helps you decide if it can work for you. Additionally, it should be mentioned that CL is only one choice of a number of means for getting a divorce.  Some others, in order of increasing level contentiousness are:  quickie do-it-yourself divorce, Mediation, Arbitration and/or private judge, Negotiated Settlement, and Litigation. Many books warn against letting your divorce reach the Litigation stage and hence the other forms come into play. The author has no experience with a litigated divorce and was motivated for many of the reasons stated in books on the subject to avoid it.

To present more information about Collaborative Law Divorce to the public for the purpose of helping people who might be seeking a divorce in evaluating the Collaborative Law Divorce option.  To share experiences from author and others on site and better inform the readers.

An outline of what this site discusses is shown below:

  1. Introduction/Mission
  2. Collaborative Law Divorce
    1. The Pitch: what collaborative law offers
    2. The basic Guidelines and Procedures
    3. What is different about Collaborative Law Divorce
    4. The Process: the basic process of getting a divorce under CL
  3. Author’s case and story, review of Collaborative Divorce book.
  4. Pitfalls: A more detailed explanation of what can go wrong, a personal history
  5. Caveats: What to watch out for
  6. Links to Other information and information important to this site.
  7. FORUM: Contribute your experiences, read others’ experiences!
  8. Documents for Author’s case
    1. Collaborative Law Contract (Stipulation)
    2. Principles and Guidelines of Collaborative Practice
    3. Divorce Entry of Judgment
  9. About this site

Disclaimers: The author of this site is NOT an expert on family law and he reports a single and personal experience with collaborative law divorce, and what he learned along the way about the process.  His experiences cannot be representative of the vast number of divorces that utilize collaborative law, and it is not the intention of this site to claim that collaborative law divorce is bad choice for every couple. The author believes that the concepts behind collaborative law divorce can work with some couples and meet their objectives. On the other hand, his experiences show a much different scenario that can take place and should be avoided.  This site is intended to educate visitors about the realities of divorce and collaborative law so that they can make the best choices for themselves.  Good luck!

The author has attempted to report matters as accurately as possible based on his memories, notes and extensive email records during the divorce.  However, the author must necessarily speculate as to communications between his wife and her lawyer, or communications between the two lawyers.  Of course, any comments about the motives of others must necessarily be speculation as well.

Stories/Opinions, etc. expressed in the public Forum area of this site are not under the control of the author/administrator of the site, and therefore not the responsibility of this web site. Abuse on the Form may be reported to administrator for action to be taken to remove materials not allowed under the Forum rules of the site.

This site does not attempt to present a comprehensive view of methods for getting a divorce, which are numerous and may vary between states.  Please check what methods are available before deciding on any one method for you and your spouse.

For more informatiion on divorce and collaborative divorce, please also see the Links page on this site.


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