Tom and Michelle Gesky are one of the best-known couples to have gone through collaborative divorce, in part because of the media interviews they were willing to do to help spread the word about collaborative law. Though it’s been ten years since the New York couple started down the road to divorce, their story is still a fantastic example of how a couple can opt for the collaborative option and improve the process for themselves and their children. Coverage of the case included this article from the Tampa Tribune (featuring a quote from CLI-TX’s own Linda Solomon) and this New York Times article.
There’s also this segment from NBC’s Today, which features the Geskys and their lawyers. Tom Gesky’s lawyer, Katherine Eisold Miller, is a CLI-TX member even though her practice is in Westchester County, New York, and her blog is one of our favorites covering collaborative divorce.
Reflecting back on how the Today segment came to be, Miller said:
The opportunity came up while Neil and I were working with this couple and I thought they would be good if they were willing because Michelle had already been through a litigated divorce. They agreed to do the piece, and because of that, we spent a lot of time together off the clock, preparing with the producers.
One thing Michelle said while we were in the preparations was, “I thought that Tom and I would be known for how we were married, but it turns out that we will be known for how we divorced.” That really stuck with me — that people make a decision to act on their own behalf and on behalf of their children or they choose not to. Choosing not to is also a choice even if it looks like inaction rather than action.
The point Miller makes about choosing is an important one. When couples choose collaborative divorce, it’s a process that involves them more proactively in making choices that will lead them to resolution. While litigation offers each party the hope of “winning,” it also keeps them from being part of a solution if the case goes to court. The “solution” often ends up being a set of parameters that comes from a judge, that doesn’t take the individual couple’s unique situation into the equation.