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Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life Hardcover – May 23, 2006
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About the Author
Pauline H. Tesler, M.A., J.D., has been a specialist in family law certified by California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization since 1985. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Tesler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband.
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Thurman W. Arnold III
More than a few of us remember the old televised series entitled "Divorce Court" where couples would hammer out their woes in front of Judge Voltaire Perkins. Mental cruelty, desertion, adultery, alcohol abuse and other heinous "crimes" in which people aired their dirty laundry were amusing to the audience, but in the real world were painful facts of life. Inevitably the Judge would announce the loser and smiles would go out to the winner. For many years it was a winner takes all situation, but in today's world, a world in which we find collaborative divorce, it is a win-win situation all around.
The collaborative divorce, while not meant to revitalize a weary or downright dead marriage, sets the scene in which a couple can exit a marriage with dignity and grace while addressing the most intimate concerns of the union. In a nut shell collaborative divorce uses a non-adversarial approach to sorting out the emotional, financial and legal issues encountered by a couple during the separation and divorce process, a process in which the couple works together with others to direct and redirect their own lives. An interdisciplinary team utilizes "coaches" for each individual spouse, a financial analyst and, most important, a child specialist for the children. Collaborative divorce meets the immediate needs of a couple or family while addressing and maintaining future relations long after the legal process has ended. Surprisingly enough, according to the authors the costs "will generally be much lower than if traditional adversarial lawyers had handled the case as a legal battle."
Initially I had many misgivings about the book as I tend to be somewhat leery of the terms "revolutionary" and "new" in the title of any newly issued book as it usually signifies "fad," but once I started to read the book I quickly "discovered" the extreme importance of the "revolutionary new" concept of collaborative divorce. Excellent, excellent ... I can't say enough about the importance of this extremely well written book. It should be of especial interest to those in long term marriages, those with entangled financial assets and most importantly for couples with children. I'd recommend purchasing not one, but two of these books, one for you, one for your spouse. Maintaining dignity and grace are priceless.
One thing I was hoping to get from the book was a thorough, organized inventory of issues that need to be considered during a divorce (issues involving child custody, dividing finances fairly, etc.) The book mentions many issues, but not in an orgnized manner. They are scattered throughout the book. The book basically advises, "leave everything to the professionals, and this is how they'll handle it for you." There are examples in the book of how people handled things well, but in general I found the tone of the book slightly condescending.
I kept thinking as I was reading this book, "Why am I reading this? I might as well talk to one of these professionals myself instead of reading about talking to the professionals." In my opinion, this book could have easily made its point in 100 pages or less.