Category Archives: Your Investment

You will be making several ‘investments’ during the process of ending your marriage. It will involve your time, your emotions, your creativity…..
These posts are about all what it will take from you.
My fees are only one aspect of this, but I’ll be discussing and describing those here as well.
I offer different fees for different services. They are described and discussed in these posts.

Why would I want a TEAM of professionals?!?

There are a number of topics that you two have to discuss and reach agreement upon in connection with the ending of your marital relationship. Some are legal, but frankly, many of them are financial and all of them have the potential for being very emotional. That’s why in Collaborative Practice we offer professionals with expertise in each of these areas as part of a team that can best outline and clarify the complicated things and can best help you each to work through the emotions of the experience and help you with solid ideas of what actually is in the best interests of YOUR children.
In this video, prepared by our good friends in Ontario, you’ll see a nice overview of each of the available team members and how their presence benefits you and makes the process more efficient.

Why do we take “Trainings” in Collaborative Practice?

Over the years since my first training in CP–Jan, 2000–I’ve taken over a dozen additional trainings, both basic and advanced. I’ve trained others several times, both basic and advanced. So someone might ask why would you do that?  Don’t you know ‘how to do it’ yet? Okay, so nobody really asked, but I’ll answer it anyway.

There are two ways in which CP differs from the standard practice of law, from ‘litigation’. One is process. The other is purpose. Or, HOW we do things and WHY we do them. Or we might say aptitude and attitude. The latter in all of those pairs is critical. It is what we collectively refer to as the ‘paradigm shift’.

Over the years, I’ve grown a bit concerned as the number of trainings and trainers has expanded–if not exploded–about my perception that the paradigm shift has been getting increasingly short shrift in basic trainings. Its importance gets mentioned, even emphasized, “Collaborative Practice requires us to make a ‘paradigm shift’. To change how we think about things and approach them.”  But little more is said about it; about the nature of the change, much less how to undertake it.  And then ensue 2 days or more of talk and role play about procedure. My concern is that with so much time being spent on protocols, the impression may be given that the paradigm shift means nothing more than simply following these protocols.

There was a note I scribbled to myself recently: “If you believe that you have made the paradigm shift, that alone may be good evidence that you probably have not.” I say that because the ‘paradigm shift’ is not ever complete. Because it is an internal reshaping of 1) how I see myself, 2) how I see my relationship with my client, the other client, and my colleagues, AND 3) what I see as my ‘job’.

That kind of shift is never complete, or done, or ‘made’.  It is always in process. And most importantly, no change in protocols will cause it to happen. Instead it is the shift in paradigm which prompts, indeed requires, a change in protocols. They are both part of Collaborative Practice, but they are not equal. Making one will require the other; but doing the other neither requires nor even prompts the former.

I know it’s easier to teach a course on when and how to meet and keep notes. And much easier to sell such a skills ‘training’.  I don’t mean at all to suggest that ‘how to’ is not helpful and important. However, if all we are teaching is a new set of ‘rules of procedure’, is CP really even worth getting excited about?  I don’t think that the first ‘basic’ training is at all too soon to begin suggesting that the ‘paradigm shift’ involves a good deal of ‘personal work’ and outlining ‘how to’ do that work as well. I hope to see more of it actively incorporated in basic trainings as we continue to grow.


When you are choosing a Collaborative Practice professional, take the time to find out how much ‘training’ s/he has been through.  It does make a difference.

Also keep in mind that any professional who tells you s/he is ‘certified’ or a ‘specialist’ in Collaborative Practice is, well, stretching things.  There is absolutely no organization that ‘certifies’ Collaborative Practice professionals.  So, take the time to find out how involved in CP that professional has been.  Not necessarily how many ‘cases’ they’ve done, but how much they genuinely embrace that they haven’t learned everything yet and so they keep taking trainings.


Collaborative Divorce may seem risky, but it can be done!

I just finished reading a piece from the Harvard Business review about how to effectively ‘Collaborate’ with business associates.  With thanks to the author, I apply some of her thoughts to working with Collaborative Practice as a divorcing couple.

Collaborative divorce works by treating the couple, and their professionals as a Team.  The task at hand for the team is to reassign the responsibilities and obligations of the couple and and redistribute their assets and liabilities so that each of them AND their children can move forward with their respective needs being met as well as possible.  Not exactly a ‘simple’ task, bot one in which either the couple can see themselves as adversaries trying to ‘win’ or as team members working together toward overlapping goals.  In CP, we support clients in that latter view.

So what’s so difficult and ‘risky’ about working in Collaboration with your soon-to-be-ex?  It almost always comes to some question of Trust.  “How do I trust this person?”  It’s understandable and normal as a couple has moved toward ending their marriage, that there be, well an reduction in the amount of trust between them.  And yet, they need to trust each other enough to work together at the tasks at hand.  How do they do that?  As it was put in the article that moved me:  “How do we lay the groundwork for trust so that when we need to collaborate we can quickly slip into a workable partnership?”  She offers four thoughts that I’ll use as a starting point:

1. “Start with simple exchanges where the cost of betrayal is low.”  As with most of the process, you’ll work with especially the involved Mental Health professionals to find a starting place.  What’s a topic where you DO trust the other person?  There is one….even if it’s only scheduling a next meeting and trusting that s/he will show up.  Another good one will involve gathering documents that relate to finances.

2. “Remember that our collaborators are competent”  You know full well what you’re soon-to-be-ex is good at.  Step aside for a moment from the normal desire to paint him/her as a complete fool, so that you both can benefit from what s/he is good at.  Do this also with your professionals!

3. “Don’t take advantage of our collaborators’ deficiencies.”  You also know what s/he is not so good at.  It doesn’t help you to call attention to wait for him/her to mess up and then to call attention to it.  Really, if they’ve been really bad at remembering tasks, don’t sit in the wings for them to forget something so that you can say “See!!”  Try pretending that s/he isn’t going to do it on purpose.  Instead, raise it in private with your professionals so that they can come up with ways to bolster the deficiency…so that you both benefit.

4. “Give others their due, and expect yours in return.”  When your soon-to-be-ex does something, don’t just take it as a given.  Even worse, don’t treat it as an unexpected surprise!  Instead, recognize that you two are working together and that every you or s/he does to accomplish your goals benefits you both.  Acknowledge it as such.  A simple ‘thank you’ can go a lot further than a ‘fiiiiiinally!’

If you think this sounds difficult, I encourage you to think about what is at stake here.  Your marriage is ending, but engaging in Collaborative Practice with your soon-to be-ex is about giving yourself the best chance at starting your post-marriage life positively.  It may not be easy, but aren’t you worth it?