The Collaborative Law God and Code Condom
I want to write about funny things. I like funny and I like laughing. However, as much as I try, as I wander down the highways and byways of this journey of my divorce (Hello Patrick; hey there Kirby; Roy – great to see you again; oops, there is John, don’t want to take that turn) I realize there is nothing funny about being tired. And sick. And hated.
Maybe though I will surprise us and find some humor here.
It isn’t that I am not likeable, and it isn’t that I don’t try to be nice, but I make attorneys angry.
Jim told me his attorney Jeffrey Kaufman hated me because I challenged him. You bet, I did. What do you say to a man who says he wants to hit you over the head with a 2×4? “Hey sweetie, do it again?”
I don’t stand still as the board beckons.
I was abandoned twice in this monster sized divorce. I should have seen it coming. My divorce attorneys have a manner of speaking: “Hi there, nice retainer, well, gotta go now.” One even dropped me into the abyss while telling me he filed my brief in the appeals court. In fact, he had never begun writing it. The state Bar wasn’t happy with that and sent him packing.
Having been dragged through both a trial and an appeal, Mr. 2×4 wasn’t ready to end it yet. He said, “Ann, let’s mediate.” “Or collaborate.” Aw, jeez, Jeffrey, that’s what I said years ago. Was it the money that made you continue? You entice clients with a small retainer and then egg them on, “You aren’t going to let him do that to you, are you?” And out comes the checkbook.
I was warned about collaborative. Strongly, fiercely warned: don’t go there, don’t do it, you will never get out. The attorneys who told me not to do it were familiar with my case – the husband who wears you out, buries you in motions, ignores requests to settle, and wants your attention: See, I have money to go on and on and you do not.
I listened to the warnings, but I was tired. Six years of a divorce – court dates, trial, appeal. I won! I thought it was over. Listen carefully: nothing is ever over with someone who wants to keep it going. Unless you have stamina, money and a lawyer who doesn’t mind leveling the playing field, you very well may die before the divorce is over.
In collaborative law four people sit around a table and discuss things. Hovering over is the Collaborative God. You are in a box, breathing the fumes of the holy collaborator, using words like Orwell: “Ann, we don’t speak of fraud, we talk of ‘the troubling times.’ Read that again. The holy grail of collaborative speak is to replace truth with fiction, and pretend negatives don’t exist.
However, should there be a negative, rest assured that “the team” is all on your side ready and eager to problem solve together.
Or so goes the myth. My team was different. They helped my husband buy a house. We were there to get my judgment monies to me and instead he used it to buy a house. Oh, the collaborative god is laughing!
I’m still trying to figure that one out.
Disclosure of investment opportunity? Oh, well, ignore that Ann.
Is this the funny part? The part that says that says to the collaborators: hey, I have an idea – let’s collaborate, we need to put the truth on the table and follow the rules you set up.
The Collaborative God has other ideas like this one: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Which translates to: “We don’t have to follow the law. Isn’t that great?”
The DaVinci code brings us a married Jesus with a French bloodline to this day. The Collaborative Code brings us a divorcing couple with IV Valium in their bloodline when they realize: I am unprotected from the forces of randomness if we can ignore the family code, bond with the one we like, ignore the facts and force some win-win. I lost everything and here were these men trying to figure out how to give more to my ex-husband.
If this is unprotected law, then give me Code Condom. Unprotected law is the biggest danger of collaborative.
We have a vengeful god here. He does not like the Family Code, it stands in the way of win-win; a nice idea except when it isn’t.
“Deep inside my heart I know I can’t escape. Oh Mama, can this really be the end, to be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again?” Bob Dylan