The disintegrating marriage and resulting march to divorce of the relationship of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver has been well documented by the press and noted by experienced divorce lawyers in West Palm Beach and throughout Palm Beach County.
This couple has four children and are searching for privacy as they attempt to resolve their relationship. One method of doing so would be Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Divorce is a confidential and private process whereby the parties and their attorneys agree to meet in a series of meetings to resolve the issues in the parties’ divorce. The advantages of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver using this type of divorce resolution method include:
1. Privacy and Confidentiality: Contracts signed by their attorneys and the parties in a Collaborative Divorce clearly indicate that this is a private process and is a confidential process. Consequently, the press would have no access to the meetings or the paperwork generated during the process. If Arnold and Maria engage in a litigated divorce in public court, their documents will be available for public review and all hearings would be open to the public and the press;
2. Concerns of the Parties Can Be Heard. The collaborative process provides the parties the opportunity to vocalize their major concerns and receive acknowledgement of their concerns from the other spouse. This does not mean that all concerns are resolved. However, it does mean that the parties have the opportunity to express any issues of hurt, pain and regret that may be plaguing them. Some concerns, although important to one or both spouses, are not relevant or material to resolving legal issues and often get lost in the litigation that occurs in the public courtroom;
3. Child-centered Solutions. Collaborative Divorce permits the parties to focus in a series of meetings upon child-centered solutions. Both of these parents love their children dearly. Collaborative Divorce provides them an open, creative field to fashion a solution that best meets their children’s needs in the future; and
4. Communication Coaching. The collaborative process permits the inclusion of confidential professionals to assist the parties in resolving any issue in terms of resolving the divorce and creating their new separate lives. Divorce coaches are mental health professionals, who provide guidance and coaching on how to speak and communicate with their spouse in a constructive manner and how to appropriately manage their emotions during the collaborative process. Consequently, they can discuss freely and openly creative solutions to any issue that they may encounter. The statutes and case laws of many jurisdictions create boundaries in the courtroom which stifle and prevent the creativity of the parties in formulating child-centered solutions for their family.
Whether people in Palm Beach County live in Jupiter or Wellington, they will be watching with interest how Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger deal with their divorce.
Time will tell if this couple will act intelligently in their best interests in some type of an alternative dispute resolution such as Collaborative Divorce or whether they will air their dissolution in the public forum of an adversarial proceeding in court. Let’s hope that they follow the footsteps of other more enlightened celebrities such as Robin Williams in selecting a collaborative result.
Charles D. Jamieson, Esquire practices Marital and Family Law in adversarial and collaborative cases in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar. Trained and experienced in Collaborative Law, Charles D. Jamieson has been an attorney for over 30 years. To learn more about him and his divorce and family law blog, visit his website: www.cjamiesonlaw.com and visit his blog: Palm Beach County Divorce and Family Law Blog at http://blog.cjamiesonlaw.com/