Process Choice: The How of Divorce Settlement with Sarah Hechtman

EP: 048

Sarah Hechtman

Process Choice: The How of Divorce Settlement


Once you’ve decided on divorce, the next step is to determine how you and your former partner will come to a resolution. Given that 97% of divorces in New York settle before a judge gets involved, it is in your best interests to explore the full spectrum of options and make an informed decision based on your particular circumstances. This is called process choice.

Sarah Hechtman is a trained collaborative lawyer and family mediator. Before practicing family law, Sarah worked as a civil rights lawyer, prosecuting class action cases on behalf of children through Children’s Rights and Advocates for Children of New York. She also served as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County DA’s Office where she was a member of the Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes Unit. Sarah made the transition to family law in 2006, and since then she has handled complex divorce cases involving substantial financial assets as well as highly contested child custody cases. Sarah’s interest in the welfare of children coupled with her experience as a litigator led her to a commitment in helping clients resolve their family disputes outside the court system.

Today, Sarah joins Katherine to share the definition of process choice, discussing the full spectrum of options divorcing couples have regarding how they will settle. She explains the mediation model, walking us through the value a mediator adds as a neutral third-party. Sarah also speaks to collaborative law, describing the professionals who may be included in the process. Listen in for Sarah’s insight around the myth of ‘having your day in court’ and how collaborative law enables the parties involved to craft their own resolution.

Topics Covered

The definition of process choice

The full spectrum of paths to settlement

How the ‘kitchen table’ template works without representation

The value a mediator adds to the settlement process

  • Big picture view
  • Creative solutions
  • Neutral third-party

Who is involved in three-way and five-way mediation meetings

The collaborative law model

The role of a divorce coach

The myth around having your ‘day in court’

The concept of attribution error

How collaborative law enables the parties involved to craft their own solution

The circumstances under which litigation may be appropriate

  • Domestic violence
  • Safety of child at risk
  • Need discipline of court

Why the most highly contested cases involve mental illness

How the court system is designed to address the worst possible circumstances

  • Wasteful dissipation of assets exemplar

Connect with Sarah Hechtman

Sarah at Miller Law Group

Sarah on LinkedIn

Connect with Katherine Miller

The Center for Understanding Conflict
Miller Law Group
Katherine on LinkedIn