Docs related to Author's case (and a new case circa 2010): (public domain)


The Collaborative Contracts: These two documents form the backbone of what the parties agree to when they enter into a Collaborative Divorce proceeding. Read them carefully! ! ! These documents are referenced extensively in this site with hyperlinks into the HTML versions.... They were signed by all parties, including husband, wife, Pauline Tesler and Eugene Seltzer - the two collaborative attorneys hired.

NOTE NOTE: The documents below are directly from Author's case and there are many variations on these documents, some of which may be found on the Links Page or via a simple search for Collaborative Divorce on the Internet.

"Principles and Guidelines for Collaborative Practice"

HTML version

PDF Printable version

"Stipulation and Order, Superior Court of the State of California"

HTML version

PDF Printable version

"Handbook for Clients" by the American Bar Association (c) 2001 and given to ex-wife by her attorney, and copied for Author by ex-wife prior to starting divorce meetings... Section 12 is especially relevant to our case.


The Judgment (Entry of Judgment) Court document for the Author's Case.



Please visit this page to read more about the aftermath of the case - a state bar complaint filed against Gene Seltzer and Pauline Tesler in October 2007 and rebutted in February 2008...

New! (November 2011)

This letter was actually written also as a State Bar Complaint against an attorney representing the son of the letter's author. The mother followed the case, attended a meeting, and was so outraged by the CL "process", she wrote this letter.. Link to it is also on the CL FORUMS.


Exerpts from Choice emails mentioned in Author's Story :

September 6, 2006: Email from Pauline Tesler complaining that Husband can't address group of four directly. All further emails from Tesler were addressed to wife and my attorney and I was left off of CC list, such that I had to get all communications through Eugene Seltzer - at my expense.

"However, I do want to mention that "group emails" are intended for routine matters such as scheduling  and sending/approving post-fourway memos, not for new  matters or proposed agenda changes.  We have learned from experience that such items are best addressed first with one's own counsel, and then discussed between the two lawyers as a potential change in the next fourway agenda--to avoid risk of misunderstandings and  flare-ups between fourway meetings.  While [Husband's] email is a positive step, I'd feel more comfortable if we honor that boundary about emails and let Gene be the conduit for new matters from [Gordon] between meetings, as I would be the conduit for new matters from [Wife]."

Sept 12, 2006: Gene Seltzer to Husband: (only six weeks into divorce) Seems to be defending the violation of the Guidelines and suggesting we no longer do a collaborative divorce, but does not offer to drop out or raise this with other side..

"[Husband]: Let's examine the process question: If we are not proceeding collaboratively, then we should be clear about it with everyone. If I am your "line of defense," then we are into positional bargaining, as you have, at times, observed. However, if we are in positional bargaining, then Pauline's noting the prenup issue, the higher level of guideline support, and savings as a component of standard of living all are legitimate considerations to weigh against the issue of [Wife's] estimated living expenses. (rest of email omitted) ...Gene"

January 15, 2007: Pauline Teslser to Eugene Seltzer (to Husband) about paying alimony in 2006 without a divorce settlement or "instrument" as IRS code terms it, by trying to re-characterize money split up from joint account in summer 2006 as alimony after the fact.

"For that reason, I  reiterate my earlier suggestion:  let's regard the money paid over to [Wife] during the summer of "06 as  lump sum support payments, deductible to [Husband] and taxable to [Wife].  Let's then treat that as the first of three annual support payments:  '06, '07, and '08.  Let's restore the money paid in '06 that has been charged to [Wife] as a property distribution, back to the balance sheet on [Husband's] side, which will simply have the effect of increasing the property equalizing payment to [Wife] in an amount commensurate with the amount now recharacterized as support for '06.  [Husband] still pays only 30 months of support in all.  But a first installment has thus already been paid and received in 2006.  The MSA recites that the first installment of lump sum support was payable and was paid on or before December 31, 2006, in the sum of (whatever [Wife] received in '06).  That sum would not be discounted at all.  Now there are two remaining installments:  '07 and '08.  (rest ommitted)" -Tesler

May 10, 2007: Pauline Teslser to Eugene Seltzer (to Husband) about how husband will be "punished" in court for not paying alimony during the long CL case. Husband never argued with payment of alimony, and offered to split up adequate funds in joint accounts to address any short term needs of wife during negotiations multiple times.. Letter admits that wife was seeking advice about litigation during the case, which is against the Principles and Contract.Teslser's knowlege of this should compel her to drop out. Email also proposes a new term violating statutes that alimony ceases upon the death of either party. The "not negotiable" part was negotiated later and a compromise was accepted.

"[Husband] has paid nothing for almost a year since separation. (When [Wife] sought a second opinion, her consulting counsel was so appalled by this that he was confident the court would penalize [Husband] substantially one way or another in making its support orders.) The lump sum payment was  spread out for [Husband's] convenience, not [Wife's]--initially as part of an effort to achieve deductibility for [Husband] without recapture risk.  Now, the payments are non-deductible to [Husband], so the sole remaining reason for spreading them out beyond execution of the agreement is his own convenience.  The bottom line is that [Wife] has negotiated terms that are a bare minimum for her economic viability and the lump sum must be paid in full, either  by [Husband], or --if he predeceases--then by his estate. He would be dead at that time and he has no dependents, so it cannot possibly matter to him to pay off the lump sum obligation at that point.  Alternatively he  should pay the entire sum  immediately on execution of the agreement, which would be more customary under these circumstances. This is not a negotiable proposition. ..." -Tesler


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