Surgical Divorce/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on May 20, 2012


One of the attorney/mediator names seen on this blog is that of Laurie Israel, Esq. Ms. Israel contributed a post to the HuffPo website in which she describes a model for divorce known as “surgical divorce”. (See Such a divorce is most likely to occur when the parties wish to enter into an expedited divorce process. A surgical divorce has minimal disputes, is rather straight-forward, and is meant to be peaceful and low-cost. Often the parties have discussed many, if not all, aspects of their divorce agreement.  They simply need additional guidance and and legal input. Attorney Israel explains that such divorces often has only one party represented by an attorney while the other party is pro se (without an attorney). As she sums it up: “It can be the last caring act of an ended marriage.”

The article by Attorney Israel is informative, but I have seen this process unfold in mediated divorces as well. Once parties decide they will spare their children ,and themselves, the agony of a divorce battle. options emerge, discussions are productive, and the divorce process becomes civil and result-oriented. Whatever you call your divorce process, you must remember that the desire to communicate and find solutions, makes the process less offensive and more protective of emotional needs and feelings. Call it surgical, mediated or collaborative; the real question is whether you wish your divorce to be civil. What is the downside of civil divorce? I can’t think of an answer to that question. Mediate don’t litigate.