June 30, 2014

Life After a Collaborative Divorce: A Client’s Experience

455422869Recently I received a referral from Kristin, a client I represented in 2011 in her collaborative divorce. In thanking her for the referral, I took the opportunity to ask her how she was doing. With her permission, her response is reproduced below. At the time of her divorce, Kristin and her husband had two (2) children ages 10 and 12.

Hi Tonda,

Nice to hear from you. I will fill you in with some detail for examples of what can lay on the other side of divorce to help you give hope to your clients going through this painful process. Everyone is doing well here; the kids are doing really well splitting their time between our 2 households (4 miles apart).

Tom and I have a much better relationship now than when we were getting divorced. We talk several times per week and text, usually daily, mostly regarding kids’ stuff like coordinating activities/homework and just general parenting issues. We also try to meet for coffee sometimes to discuss things more in depth like holidays and vacation planning and kids’ milestones. We see each other at their basketball games, tennis matches, orchestra concerts, etc, even holidays sometimes, and usually sit together with our new spouses. Tom and I both got re-married a couple of months ago and Tom and his wife are expecting a baby in March. I married a pharmacist that I met after the divorce and we got married in Yosemite in August of this year. The four of us get along well and the kids get along well with both our spouses so I have nothing but great things to say about the collaborative process. It really helped us to avoid a lot of un-pleasantries and keep our family together without staying married, which is really great.

I hope all is well with you and your practice. I will continue to recommend people look into collaborative divorce as an option. It has been very helpful to us to use the divorce agreement as a structure, but we stay very flexible with rearranging schedules, holidays and vacations etc. We have actually never even had an argument since the divorce. It has helped us build a sense of cooperation and the collaborative process really reinforced putting the kids as the center point for all decisions going forward. One of the things that always stuck in my mind through the whole process was that Tom and I decided that even though we did not have a successful and healthy marriage, we would have a successful and healthy divorce and be successful and healthy parents.

Best,
Kristin

Tonda L. MattieABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tonda Mattie

Tonda Mattie has been a Family Law attorney for over 30 years and has practiced exclusively Collaborative Family Law since 2006.  She has been involved in the Collaborative Law movement since 1992.  She has been past President and past Co-President of the Collaborative Law Institute (CLI) of Minnesota.  She has headed the CLI Training Committee as chair or co-chair since 2004.  She is engaged in the practice of her dreams using a collaborative process that 1) allows good people to be their best despite the crisis they are in; 2) is centered on the well-being of the children; 3) creates a safe environment for difficult conversations; 4) focuses on the future rather than on blame and past grievances; 5) identifies and meets the needs and interests of all family members; 6) empowers parties to control and create their own mutual settlement; and 7) creates a climate in which healing can begin to occur. Visit her website at www.mndivorce.com.

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