The reduction of acrimony during a divorce process clearly
benefits the divorcing adults. While that result is highly desirable, it is
not the primary goal of collaborative divorce.
Professonials who work with families of divorce have
learned that parental conflict is the single most difficult
divorce-related experience for children to witness and work through. In all my
work with families and attorneys and finance professionals, I acknowledge my
bias, and urge their attention to the children, and their well-being, both in
the short and the long-term, as they help the spouses develop a divorce
the past seven years, since Collaborative Divorce has become an option, I have
been able to recommend it to roughly 85 percent of my clients for whom divorce
is necessary. And let me say right up front that, as good as it is, a
collaborative divorce is not suitable for everyone. Primarily, it does not
serve the needs of highly litigious spouses, or families in which anger is so
intense and trust so destroyed that compromising and thoughtfulness are no
longer possible. But if you think that a Collaborative Divorce might suit your
needs, please either contact me directly, or find a Collaborative Divorce
practitioner through the various Collaborative Divorce websites.
My interest in working
with children of divorce originated with my studies with Chaim Ginott in the ‘70s,
with Judith Wallerstein in the’80s, and through my own practice, research, and
activities through the ‘90s and to date.
I initiated a 10-week workshop for men and women together called "New Life Transition" groups. In these groups all of the emotional aspects of divorce can be explored, from parenting to dating, career, etc. Solutions to seemingly insoluble problems often appear.
I served Connecticut as the first Marriage and Family Therapist to accept the challenge made by Judge Joseph Steinberg.
I chaired a statewide committee whose mission it was to educate attorneys and therapists about one another's practice, with the primary goal of reducing acrimony in their client bases. This was intended to significantly reduce the stresses imposed on the children of divorce. AAMFT then asked
me to represent the national organization on the National Interdisciplinary Forum for Mental Health and Family Law.
I subsequently held the mental health chair of this committee, attended American Bar Association meetings, and lectured nationally on the committee's mission: to reduce acrimony during divorce and thereby benefit the Children of Divorce.
In 2004, I brought the
Connecticut program to New York’s attention through NYAMFT (the New York
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy), and helped develop that state’s
program, L2L, (take a Lawyer to Lunch). These programs, forerunners of
Collaborative Divorce, focus on helping attorneys and mental health
professionals to develop mutual trust and understanding, thereby enhancing their
abilities to work effectively with their mutual clients and with one another.