Many of us love the movies. And Robin Williams can often be a very funny guy.
One of the many roles that Robin Williams played was as Mrs. Doubtfire, a 1993 comedy. Robin played the part of Daniel Hillard (who was embroiled in a litigated divorce from his wife, Miranda Hillard, played by Sally Fields). Due in part to a series of unfortunate circumstances and mishaps, Daniel’s parenting time with his three children becomes compromised. Desperate to see his children again, Daniel poses as an elderly Scottish nanny, whom he dubs “Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire,” and is hired by Miranda as a nanny to care for their children.
As Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin delivered plenty of humorous lines. For example, Mrs. Doubtfire (after being introduced to one of their children, Natalie) remarks, “ I admire that honesty, Natalie, that`s a noble quality. Never lose that, because it often disappears with age, or entering politics.” But the movie has its reflective, and often quite sad, moments as well such as when Mrs. Doubtfire, on her own television show, answers a letter from a little girl whose parents are divorcing, to which Mrs Doubtfire responds with the advice that, no matter what the circumstances, love will prevail.
Playing the role of Mrs. Doubtfire in 1993 must have left an indelible impression upon Robin Williams. Fifteen years later, when Robin and his second wife, Marsha, were facing the prospect of a divorce, the couple signed an agreement (with themselves and with their lawyers), pledging to be “honest, cooperative and respectful” during their divorce proceedings, and spelling out their goals, including promises to try to avoid courtroom clashes and to keep their children’s interests at the forefront.
By agreeing to use the Collaborative Divorce Process, Robin and Marsha Williams chose to not repeat the mistakes made by Daniel and Miranda Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire.
As lawyers, we advise our clients that the most important decision that any divorcing couple must make is whether they will utilize an adversarial or a non-adversarial divorce process. That decision should be carefully made. It will impact not just the immediate present but also will carry with it long-term ramifications upon every member of the family, adults and minors alike.
BRIAN URBAN & BRIDGETTE POZZUTO
Cleveland’s Collaborative Divorce Attorneys