First of all, as fans of Tiger Woods, we find his current predicament regrettable. While we recognize that our society is curious about the lives of public figures — especially those as well-known as Tiger — we understand how much harder his current situation is, given that he’s being tried in the court of public opinion.
We don’t expect that Tiger will call us up and ask for our advice. We hope that he’s able to work things out with his wife and not have to go through the painful process of divorce.
However, should it come to that, a Collaborative law divorce would be preferable to a traditional divorce for several reasons.
The first, of course, is the privacy that a Collaborative law divorce affords. Imagine what traditional divorce proceedings would be like for Tiger and his wife, Elin Nordegren. TV trucks would be parked outside the courtroom. Reporters from ESPN to Entertainment Tonight would be issuing summaries of the daily events to millions of viewers. For someone as private as Tiger — you’ve heard by now that he owns a yacht named “Privacy” — a traditional divorce would make maintaining privacy a near-impossibility. But a Collaborative divorce would be negotiated in lawyers’ offices rather than a publicly-accessible courtroom, far from the public eye.
Using Collaborative law would also remove the divorce process from the spectacle and drama of court proceedings. Though the recently-released voicemail message allegedly from Tiger was embarrassing, we can only imagine that salacious details from the suspected affairs would be even more embarrassing. Courtroom dynamics might necessitate such revelations, especially given the millions of dollars at stake. In Collaborative law, however, coming to a solution acceptable to both parties is the goal. The focus is on both sides cooperating to achieve their best possible outcomes, rather than using humiliation as a weapon against each other in a courtroom battle.
And, of course, with children involved, Collaborative law keeps the interests of children in proper focus. In the courtroom, whatever decisions the judge might make regarding the children would be accompanied by a sea of unwanted publicity. In Collaborative law, the neutral mental health professional and the lawyers would be both working for their clients and working as a team of professionals to find or create the best solutions available for the children and the parents, in private. Collaborative law is a way to avoid the celebrity battles in litigation that have become more common and more disgusting in recent years. No one really wins them.
It’s too early to tell what will happen with Tiger and Elin’s marriage. We certainly hope that they’re able to weather what Tiger has referred to on his own website as “his transgresssions,” but if not, we hope that they don’t have to go through the additional pain and tumult of a traditional divorce.