Think of it like this. You are sitting in the Courthouse waiting for your case to be called. Maybe you are upset or crying, maybe you are exhausted from sitting around all day. You look up and you see a neighbor, a co-worker or your child’s coach sitting across from you. You have not told anyone other than family and close friends what is going on with your spouse. Now, the person comes over and asks you the question “why are you here?”
For many people this scenario can be mortifying. Especially if there are some sensitive issues as to why you are in Court. You have to scramble to think about what to say. But there are alternatives from being in this situation.
Mediation and collaborative divorce are confidential processes. I often tell my client’s that is like those commercials for Las Vegas – “what happens here, stays here.” It’s true. The rules for mediation and collaborative divorce are designed so that it is a private process. There are many reasons why that is a good thing for you and your family.
One – do you really need everyone knowing your personal business? When you are in Court, you may be asked questions about your income, your spending habits, your lifestyle. It is nobody’s business but yours as to how much you make and spending or what you do in your personal life. In mediation and collaborative divorce, this information is disclosed in a private setting, so only you, your spouse, your attorneys and maybe the coach or a financial professional has access to this information.
Two – people tend to be more candid if they know the information they disclose will not leave the room. Spouses often are more open and honest in the collaborative and mediation settings because they know that nothing that is said in the room can be used against them in Court. Sometimes there are sensitive financial or personal issues that cause a spouse to withhold or not be forthcoming in a court. If the spouse knows what he or she says will not be subject to public knowledge, he or she is more likely to provide the information. This allows for a more informal exchange of financial documents and that leads to lower costs.
Three – you can protect yourself and your children from negative comments. In open court, anyone can hear what is going on with you and your family. Your child’s friend’s parent could be in the courtroom. Maybe your child does not know about what is going on with you and your spouse. Even if the friend’s mom or dad does not have bad intentions, he or she may say something to your child that will cause questions you are not ready to answer. You should be able to determine what information you will or will not disclose to your child. If you divorce through mediation or collaborative divorce, you can better protect your family from exposure.
Privacy during a difficult time can be so important. Litigation does not provide the privacy you may want or need. Fortunately, you have the option to protect your privacy through mediation and collaborative divorce.