Craig, Dr.Gaughan and Jennifer explain the emotional side of divorce.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Hi, I’m Jennifer Moshier. I’m the founder of Peaceful Family Law.
DR. DANIEL GAUGHAN: Hi, and I’m DJ Gaughan and I’m in private practice as a psychologist.
CRAIG CHERNEY: Good afternoon, I’m Craig Cherney. I’m with Canterbury Law Group in Scottsdale, Arizona.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: So we’re here today to talk to you about collaborative law. The three of us are among a list of professionals who we know are committed to the collaborative process. It’s also called collaborative law or collaborative divorce. Dr. DJ Gaughan is a local mental health professional, but he also serves as a communications specialist in several cases that we work on in the collaborative process. And I’d like for him to talk a little bit more about that.
DR. DANIEL GAUGHAN: Okay, Jennifer. That’s the first time I’ve been called “DJ” since I got in trouble with my mom when I was in junior high. (Laughter.) I go by DJ and I’ve been a professional working in the family law area for about 40 years now, and I am very committed to collaborative law because it’s a wonderful alternative to the traditional processes of litigation; saves money, saves time, saves emotional turmoil, and saves your children.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Craig and I and DJ have all had cases that I think would have been more appropriate for the collaborative process but wound up in court. Craig, I know you could talk about that.
CRAIG CHERNEY: Yep, you hit it right on the head, Jennifer. Let’s talk about conventional divorce on the one hand versus collaborative. Wow, what a difference. Conventional divorce is about adversaries, opponents, going against your aggressive spouse, aggressively spending money, resources, and time. Do you want to be sitting home at night before a court date the next day in front of a judge in a black robe who’s essentially a stranger to you, a stranger to your family? Or would you rather have a collaborative process?
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Yeah. And Dr. Gaughan, DJ, is somebody who can actually help you ferret through emotions, work through those tough feelings that often get in the way of a settlement. Craig and I have had a number of cases together where we’ve opposed each other, and we’ve each committed that neither of us ever wants to be in a situation where we could help our clients through the collaborative process but instead go to litigation because of other reasons.
Dr. Gaughan, you can talk a little bit about that, how you help people work through those difficult emotions.
DR. DANIEL GAUGHAN: Yes, and I think it’s important that you have good attorneys. I have had many cases with many attorneys and some of them are really committed to having things resolved peacefully, cooperatively; and others, frankly, would just rather run up your bill. And it’s much easier for me when I’m involved in a case if we have some good attorneys, and that’s why the collaborative group that we’re talking about are all people that have been vetted and are committed to helping you take care of things.
My job typically is to help people communicate with each other, the parties communicate with each other. I mean, you might have a 25-year marriage but your communication may go downhill rapidly if that marriage is ending. And even if it’s good communication, there’s still issues to be worked through; in particular the issues with your children. And I’m a developmental psychologist by training, and I will help you figure out how to deal with your children, how to help them adjust to the divorce process, and how to apportion the time between the parents.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: All right, thank you so much. Craig, anything else you want to add?
CRAIG CHERNEY: Every divorce case starts in a court of law, including collaborative divorce.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: That’s true.
CRAIG CHERNEY: However, the great thing about collaborative is that is the first and only time that you may ever appear in court. Everything is behind closed doors in the privacy of an office or a private environment. All of the pleadings, or the things that you would normally file in a court of law which are public record, are very different in a collaborative setting because the documents are privately exchanged.
So if you are a high-profile couple or a couple that has issues you don’t want your children reading about 10 years down the line from the courthouse records, collaborative law gives you a nice, safe environment to dissolve the marriage in privacy.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: That’s something that so few people realize. Your employer, anyone, can send a courier down to the court to collect your records from your divorce or your probate or civil case. We are here to try to help people find resolutions and peace and privacy.