There is no magical procedure that can eliminate the pain of a breakup. But there are ways to preserve your assets and prerogatives through the ordeal—as well as your sanity.

Mark Baer reflects on the essential difference between litigation and the collaborative model: “How many people has anyone ever met that ever liked each other, or got along, after they were involved in a lawsuit with each other? I’m going to say, with very rare exceptions—no one. And yet with family dynamics you’re tied together for life. Not until the kids are eighteen—for life. Because, absent unusual circumstances, the kids will outlive the parents. Then you’re putting them in a dispute resolution process that causes, as a byproduct, conflict.”

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And that doesn’t go away with the judge’s final gavel. There are bound to be further negotiations, hearings, and interactions with the ex, as property, custody, and support arrangements need to be revisited. While people may imagine that going to court will end their conflict, they’re apt to be sadly surprised. According to Baer, it actually makes it worse. “It won’t leave it at the same level,” he says. “It increases the level of conflict, because it is an adversarial process.”

As Joyce Tessier puts it, “If you’re going to get a divorce, the most important decision you can make is how you do it—the process.” The models described here give you some worthwhile options to consider as you make that decision.


About Laurel Starks

Laurel Starks is a divorce real estate specialist. Trained in both mediation and collaborative divorce methods, she speaks frequently on real estate and divorce issues to legal and alternative disputes resolution groups.

A former host of the talk radio program Real Estate Matters, Starks also serves as an expert witness in real estate matters related to divorce cases, including the mishandling of procedural aspects therein. She handles the sale of real property in family law cases, and is one of the top producing realtors in the nation. She was nominated in 2016 for the coveted Innovator of the Year by Inman News, the real estate industry’s leading news source. Laurel lives with her husband and two sons in Southern California.

Starks is the author of The House Matters in Divorce: Untangling the Legal, Financial and Emotional Ties Before You Sign on the Dotted Line, published by Unhooked Books.

From “The House Matters In Divorce,” by Laurel Starks. View this book at this link: