August 11, 2014

Imagining a Divorce, Part 1

Recently, a colleague who looked up my blog entries commented that they read as if they were directed at an audience of practitioners rather than prospective clients. This wasn’t meant as a criticism; only an assessment of the tone and content of the writings. But her point was well taken, and it made me want to try to pitch an entry at those who might be considering entering the world of collaborative divorce from the other side. This, then, is my first stab at such an entry, which, for the sake of brevity, I shall divide into to two parts.

I am a divorce lawyer. I also happen to be married with two children. I would be dense indeed if I had not imagined what it would be like to be on the other side of my desk, divorcing my wife and planning for my children’s futures in dual homes. Now, on the one hand, I must acknowledge that, as challenging as it sometimes is to be married, I do not currently possess the deep and intractable rancor toward my spouse that many divorcing clients do. As a result, it is perhaps presumptuous for me to try to project myself into a divorce and to imagine how I would like to treat the mother of my children. On the other hand, perhaps there is no better time to articulate the commitments I would like to make to my future ex-wife than in a moment in which I am not overcome with emotion, like an athlete who practices in a time of relative calm to ready him- or herself for the stress of performance. I guess I am saying that a divorce, much like a marriage perhaps, is ideally a transition for which one should prepare, not in the sense of steeling oneself for a blow, but in the sense of envisioning what it would be like and how one would want to behave.

All that said, I believe that, were I to get divorced, I would want to proceed from a place of enlightened self- and child-interest; and in the next installment of this blog, I will expand on the practical consequences of this orientation.


Joshua Gitelson comes to the practice of law via a first career in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, as a film editor and writer for motion pictures and television. The son of a lawyer on the one hand and a clinical psychologist on the other, Josh has gravitated toward family law as an amalgam of these two “family businesses.” His parents’ amicable divorce inspired him to help others through the divorce process with as little rancor and conflict as possible. As a result, Josh has embraced the collaborative divorce model as a technique to complement his work on divorce in the traditional litigation mode. Learn more at

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