Client Comments. Honest Feedback.

The content on this page was sent to me by my clients. I am very appreciative that they agreed to allow me to share their sentiments.

– Adrian Davis

Candid and Practical

“Adrian, thank you for your candid and practical advice. You are a positive example for your profession.”

– Bryan

She Listened, Empathized, and Reassured Me

“It’s no easy decision, ending a marriage. Regardless of what anyone tells you, divorce is extremely difficult.  Often times, people don’t realize that the end of the marriage also means the end of the family unit, at least the family unit as you’ve known it.  If children are involved, the difficulties and challenges become even more complicated.  For at least some period of time wholeness appears elusive to all involved. However, if continuing in the marriage is more toxic than leaving, then the goal should be to end things as amicably as possible.

After all, this is someone whom you’ve loved, with whom you’ve shared a life and perhaps even had children. Regardless of who ultimately initiates the separation, there is a great deal of emotional pain on both sides.  The goal here is not to injure one another, but rather to leave each other as whole as possible, with minimal damage to what is left of the relationship, and the marital assets. Of course, the immediate impulse is to go the traditional route of litigation.  Most don’t know that there are other, far better options.

I went through my own divorce exactly one year ago.   Initially, I met with one of the most prominent litigators in town with whom I had a personal connection. Much to my surprise, she calmly sat me down and asked if I could settle my divorce using the ‘collaborative process.’  Since there was still some semblance of goodwill towards each other, I thought, “This might just work.”  She also said that often collaborative divorce settlements are far better because the couple creates a solution that is best for them and their family.

Divorcing couples can save themselves the long, drawn out agony of a court case, which usually ends in a mediated settlement anyway. “Litigation,” she continued, “saps any sense of goodwill out of the already teetering relationship and leaves behind a legacy of hard feelings and trauma.  It also drains the marital assets, with only a portion eventually going to the divorcing couple.” However, I wasn’t yet convinced nor was I sure what a collaborative divorce really entailed.

Nevertheless, I picked up a book on the topic that night and quickly found that a collaborative divorce involved only four to five meetings that would ultimately result in a formal Separation Agreement.  This Agreement would include the property settlement, the child custody arrangements, as well as any agreed upon alimony and child support. I learned also that often a financial expert is employed, who can help the divorcing couple evaluate the financial settlement. A child psychologist is highly recommended to help advocate for the children and to ensure that their best interests are served.  Some couples also opt to use divorce ‘coaches’—mental health professionals with the training and skills required to literally walk each party through the difficult emotional aspects of the process.

It all sounded good, yet I remained skeptical, feeling as though I was going to be unknowingly ‘cheated’ if I didn’t litigate. I was personally convinced that my ex-husband had plotted and planned the ambush for some time, and had half our assets hidden in a Swiss bank account. Still, I decided to meet with several highly recommended collaborative attorneys.   During my search, I learned that finding the right attorney is absolutely critical to the success of the collaborative process, with the bedside manner of the attorney being at least as important as his or her competence.

My first meeting with the woman who would end up being my attorney was at a coffee shop.  It was here that I poured my heart out to someone I had never met before, sharing with her my deepest sense of betrayal, fear and pain. She listened and empathized.  She reassured me.  She further explained that she practiced collaborative divorce exclusively.  I could see why.  This woman was a peacemaker.  She exercised the highest degree of sensitivity, and I found that our meetings often felt more like therapy sessions than divorce negotiations. Additionally, because there was a pre-set fee, I didn’t have to fear being nickled and dimed to death.  I wouldn’t be served with papers. I wouldn’t be in court. I wouldn’t be investigated, deposed and publicly humiliated.  My children would be shielded from the ugliness of it all.

While I still wasn’t convinced I would get the best settlement, I knew immediately that I felt far better emotionally going this route.  I also realized that protecting the fragile state of the relationship between my ex-husband and I, while at the same time preserving the marital assets we would ultimately divide, was in the best interest of everyone involved. The decision to go the collaborative route instantly reduced the hostility, defensiveness and fear between my ex-husband and me.  We had jointly made a decision to get through this difficult process as painlessly as possible. The goal was no longer to blindfold each other and shoot mafia style.  Rather, the goal was to make the best of a bad situation.

The primary focus of the process was, of course, the financial settlement.  As my attorney and I got to work on the financial components of the property settlement, I shared with her my fear that my ex-husband had hidden assets from me. I expected her to offer an entourage of forensic accounting experts, perhaps even to launch a formal investigation to “protect” me from the clever antics of my ex.  After all, how else would we find the Swiss bank account with MY money in it? It was at this point where I received the very best bit of advice out of the entire ordeal:  ‘We’re not going to worry about what your ex has done or what your ex wants.  We’re going to worry about YOU, what you want, and what you need.’  It may seem obvious, but this was a revelation for me—and a far cry from the rhetoric of a typical court case.

Accepting these words freed me to start building a new future for myself, shifting the focus to myself as opposed to my ex. Of course, had there been any real indication that our net worth had suddenly plummeted I wouldn’t have received this advice.  But there wasn’t.  I was going off on a wild goose chase, spending precious time, money and mental energy that would be better spent elsewhere. Armed with this new revelation, I was able to move through the entire process in less than four months.   Not one cross word was uttered between my ex-husband and me.   The process was humane, dignified and quick.  I was happy with my settlement and became convinced that I fared far better than if I had gone to court.  I had a voice in the outcome of my case, unlike litigation, where the final decision is made by a judge.

This is not to say, however, that it was painless.  Unlike litigation or even mediation, during a collaborative proceeding you are sitting directly across the table from your spouse, discussing face-to-face the dissolution of your marriage.  Everything from your retirement plans, to your children, to your favorite piece of artwork is being negotiated.  Emotions run high and the gravity of the situation can feel oppressive. In short, your hopes and dreams for the marriage are being dissolved, and ironically, being done so in a very civil manner.  It is difficult to vilify your spouse when he’s sitting in front of you, making it that much harder to deny your own culpability in the demise of the marriage.  There is no court to shield you, no attorney to hide behind. With that said, the brevity, civility and financial benefits of the collaborative process made it a far better option for me than a typical protracted court proceeding.  Thanks to the collaborative process I can honestly say that even though the end of the marriage was emotionally difficult, the dissolution of the marriage was not.”

– Haleh

My Inspiration

“Adrian, you have been my inspiration to heal myself and become more of who I am supposed to be!”

– Aletia

Thanks for your genuine support!

Hello Adrian,

Now that the dust form our difficult collaborative process has settled, I wanted to thank you again for your guidance and help throughout 3 very difficult years.

I really appreciated your legal advice – and moreover – the emotional and moral support you provided. It was great that you checked in between sessions and asked for feedback on the process and your work. It showed me you really cared! I always felt that you were only a phone call or an email away and you always responded without delay.

It was extremely helpful to have such and open and honest dialogue with you as my collaborative attorney, and it enabled me to understand and handle issues that I was struggling with.

Divorce with children is always hard and I always felt that you sincerely wanted to best for all our family members – especially the kids. Your ability to navigate through some of tensions that arose during our collaborative sessions kept us on track towards the best outcome that was possible.

I wish you all the best personally and professionally.

– Ralf

So Kind and Supportive

“You probably don’t remember me, but I just had to write you and thank you for helping me during the toughest time in my life! My husband is an Iraqi vet and came back in 2005 with many physical and emotional issues. In 2007, he just left and decided he did not want to be married anymore. I was left alone with our 2 little boys.

I knew he was not right and needed help, but I could not make him seek this assistance. You were so kind and supportive. You knew I did not want this divorce and encouraged me to be strong, take care of my boys and have faith. You helped me not only be prepared legally, but also emotionally. You told me to be patient and not to push….the best advice I ever got!

Mike and I ended up signing the separation papers, but never filed for divorce and our life together is the most amazing and wonderful blessing. We went on to have 2 more children, our 1 and only girl and a precious little boy. We learned later that Mike suffered a traumatic brain injury that affected many aspects of his personality and reasoning…like his decision making skills.

I ended up testifying in front of the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs on the need for more collaborative rehabilitation programs involving family members in the continuity of care.

Too many times we don’t hear about the good impact we have on others. I was thinking today about all the blessings in my life and how far Mike and I have come. How we will one day tell our children about how hard we fought for what we have. You had such a huge part in that, and I thank you so much!”

– Jackie