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Center Media Fact Sheet

Collaborative Divorce: Aired Wednesday January 19, 2011

The word "divorce" is often associated with the adjective "nasty." A group of Cleveland attorneys is trying to make the process more civil and respectful. Listen to the show now ...
Collaborative Divorce - Regina Brett
To download, right-click the above link and choose "Save link as".

Collaborative Law Helps Keep Divorces Out of Court

How?  Click on the articles below to view them in their entirety.

Plain Dealer Article

 Law Thumbnail

Collaborative Divorce versus Litigation

The Center for Principled Family Advocacy offers alternatives that mitigate confrontations and constant courtroom battles

CLEVELAND – April 8, 2008 – A series of articles in The Plain Dealer recently addressed the shortcomings of litigation in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. Unfortunately, the articles failed to identify that it is litigation itself that delays the process. Attacking the Court as an institution or the Judges personally ignored the real issue, which is that litigation hurts people, wastes time, and clogs the system.

The articles also failed to mention any solution for couples considering divorce. The real cure in most cases is for both divorcing parties to seek a sensible alternative to the long, agonizing litigation process in the first place.

Most couples who have decided to end their marriage want to move through the process with as little time, cost and stress as possible. Many couples pay heed to psychologists who advise that the couple's children will suffer long-term damage when the level of conflict between the parents is great. Litigation increases conflict, costs and stress for all members of a family.  And it forces families to publicly reveal details of their private lives in court filings and at appearances.

So, why else avoid litigation? Litigation involves the surrender of control. It is emotionally punishing to all the participants. It takes longer and it yields an inferior result, especially in the long term. 

When the smoke clears and the divorce is final, the separated couple and their children will still need to interact with each other.  If they have destroyed any possible goodwill through a hostile litigation process, the day-to-day job of shared parenting will be that much more difficult, and family life-cycle events will be infused with their acrimony.
This is why the failure of The Plain Dealer articles to identify the real problem and to offer solutions is so damaging. Nearly a decade ago, a number of experienced Cleveland area divorce attorneys - fed up with the single option of the divorce litigation process - formed an organization known as the Center for Principled Family Advocacy.  The goal of this organization is to promote healthier alternatives to litigation including collaborative divorce, mediation, principled negotiation, facilitated negotiation and arbitration.  Any couple should become acquainted with these alternatives, all of which are voluntary and conducted outside of the control of the Court. Divorcing couples can turn their lives over to attorneys and the courts to litigate every issue, including those examples in the articles, or, they can participate in an interest based model of conflict resolution to terminate their marriage, retain their privacy, preserve their children's well-being, and preserve a greater portion of their assets. 

If couples are interested in learning more about these options, they may contact the Center for Principled Family Advocacy at its website at: to start learning about these alternative processes.  Last summer, CPFA produced a DVD explaining these options to divorcing couples. The DVD provides unscripted testimonials from real people who have used alternative processes to litigation.   These are also available to couples and their attorneys.

Thousands of couples in northeastern Ohio have resolved their marital issues using alternative methods which avoid the risk of long, drawn-out court battles.  When couples know that they have these options, few elect the litigation path.

Perhaps instead of focusing only on the judges in the divorce process, we should focus on a new paradigm, of choosing constructive resolution, and give control for a divorce to those who are most affected by it.  This will provide great emotional and financial savings to families experiencing trauma and relieve the court of the burden of managing many cases that need not be before it.

Jonetta J. Kapusta-Dorogi

(Editor's Note: Ms. Kapusta-Dorogi is a Cleveland attorney with the firm of Hermann, Cahn & Schneider, LLP, and President of the Center for Principled Family Advocacy)


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