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The Music of Collaboration


The process of working collaboratively to end your martial or non-martial relationship has at its center an understanding of your unique needs and goals, thereby, creating an atmosphere which allows you to produce an agreement that is creative and uniquely yours.

I recently read something about the process of song writer’s working in collaboration to write new music. It emphasized the need for leaving their preconceived ideas at the door to work collaboratively together to produce something new. New music, addressing their mutual goals and differing styles. In this process everyone did not always see eye to eye, musical scores were written, discarded and refined. Yet in end, the result was something they could all live with and be proud of having created.

It seems to me this is not unlike the coming together of two individuals to create a mutually agreeable new “score” designed to achieve the shared goals of creating two separate lives and, especially if there are children, a new family dynamic. How this happens will impact on everyone for the rest of their lives.

We have all heard the horror stories of our friends and acquaintances “divorces” and in today’s reality based media, the horror stories of any public figures who are ending their marriage or relationship. In this atmosphere, it is important to look beyond the reality show drama and ask yourself, what story will I tell about my divorce? Do I really want it to look like a tabloid tell all? Most importantly, if you have children, young or grown, what story will your children tell?

While no doubt the dissolution of a marriage or non-marital relationship is a complicated intertwining of law, emotion, and the division of property and finances, you can chose to enter into a collaborative process that is, by it’s nature, designed to address the differing styles of each person and to achieving your respective goals, while empowering you to dissolve your relationship with dignity and mutual respect.

Now of course, it is not all rosy and there are certainly challenges. Obviously, for example, financial resources do not stretch as far when divided in two. However, in my experience, collaboration can help you to bring clarity and a true understanding of the realities of your unique situation by creating an atmosphere of knowledge and trust.

Further, you are not alone. Through the collaborative process agreements are reached with the help of legal and financial professionals committed to helping you reach agreements that are fair and realistic under your unique circumstances. Coaches help you to navigate the emotional landmines of ending your marriage or non-marital relationship. Helping you to make the decisions that are thoughtful and not based on the merely on the emotional challenges of ending your relationship.

Like the song writer you will discard and refine agreements. However, ultimately, you have control over the outcome that can never be provided by a judge. A judge, who with the best intentions, can never truly know your family and its needs. A judge, who to a great extent, is bound by the statutes and case law. You, by electing the collaborative process, are in charge of the best outcome for your unique situation. At outcome you can be proud of having accomplished.

In my 30 plus years of experience, while no one gets everything they want, the working together towards a resolution in a collaborative way with trained collaborative professionals brings about the most enduring agreements.

In conclusion, I want to tell the story of my most recent litigated case. After a three day trial and the rendering of the judge’s decision, the parties met and negotiated a new deal, as neither was happy with the result. The same deal that had been on the table for over a year. To get there cost not only money, but took a tremendous emotional toll on the parties, their children and other family members on both sides who had to testify.


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