WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Collaborative Divorce "We had really creative lawyers who were able to craft our divorce to fit us in a way that wouldn't have been possible if we'd gone before a judge who didn't know us," says Handy of ify to take over the mortgage and there are other options if I don't. their divorce in 2011. "I hadn't been working because I had dedicated myself to raising our chil- "If parents are going through a stressful dren who at the time were nine and twelve. I wanted to stay in our home but the house and time, children will feel it and this process mortgage were in his name. Usually you buy out the other spouse but I couldn't qualify for a allowed us to have less stress, less angst, and mortgage since I was unemployed. The attorneys worked things out so eventually I would qual- they benefitted from it," Handy says. Sanford Portnoy, PhD, a psychologist and divorce coach in Newton, has counseled couples and educated lawyers on the psychological aspects of divorce for more than 20 years. He applied his divorce coaching to the collaborative team approach when it came to Massachusetts about 12 years ago. "Word frequency studies by psychologists indicate that about 25 to 50 percent of words exchanged between lawyers and clients during the divorce are about the clients' psychological and emotional state," says Portnoy. "Many believe a more accurate figure would be around 80 percent. Legal divorce is primarily about settling the business of the marriage, so it does nothing to address the emotional component. Collaborative Law expects emotions to be part of the process but not drag it down. "I've been in practice for 44 years and this feels like the most useful work I've ever done," Portnoy says. "It keeps people out of court We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 3 which is good because, frankly, courtrooms and families in dissolution are a bad mix. Family is all about relationships and courts are all about laws, rules, and remedies." Divorce coaching is not therapy. Coaches help both clients get through the process 86

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