May 7, 2014

Life After a Collaborative Divorce: A Client’s Experience

Recently I received a LinkedIn endorsement from Christa, a client I represented in 2008 in her collaborative divorce.  In thanking her for her endorsement, 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, Christa’s two (2) daughters were 16 and 17, and Christa only worked part-time.

Hello Tonda,

How nice to hear from you!  Life has been good on my end.  I’ve move forward professionally and personally–continued to work in psychiatric research, first part-time and then, for the past 4 years full-time.  In addition, I’ve been building my private counseling practice, which led to 60+ work hours per week.  The practice is going well enough that I was able to resign my salaried position effective this November. It’s not easy leaving a place that feels like a curious and lovable community, but for the sake of living a full life, choices needed to be made.

In October 2008, a mutual friend introduced me to a man who is now my husband.  He was married before and has 2 children–his son is the same age as my oldest daughter (23), and his daughter is 15.  We were married February last year (2013) on Key West.  Almost my entire family came over to be there for us–including some nieces and nephews.  It was lovely.

Two weeks later, my former husband got married as well to a woman he had been dating since our separation.

The girls are doing very well.  My oldest daughter will be graduating this coming spring with a major in education and mathematics.  My youngest daughter will graduate next December, and then plans to get her MA degree in child psychology.  After struggling with grades and transitions the first year, they have both become straight-A students.

My youngest daughter said something interesting the other day while we were driving.  She said, “Mom, I can’t even imagine you and dad being together anymore; it’s not like I don’t remember, but you guys are so different, and all my friends can’t even believe the two of you were ever married.  I mean, how did you make it work for so long?”

Today, both my daughters see the benefit of their parents having divorced and moved on.  My former husband seems happy, has a good relationship with his daughters and brought a great woman into his life.  I’m happy as well, and likewise have a wonderful connection with my daughters.  Both daughters are relieved they don’t have to worry about either one of us, and both of them like our choice of new partners.

Everyone is well and happy.  I’m very grateful for the part you played in giving me the information and support I needed to take the step toward divorce that had frightened me so much.  Not once did I regret this transition.  I appreciate the divorce process was not hostile. You were calm, wise and nurturing when I was in the grips of anxiety. Sure, there were hurt feelings and it’s very stressful going through this process.  However, it left two people free to move forward and build a meaningful life.  It also freed our children from the worry they had for parents who just could not be happy together.

So: thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

All the best,

Christa

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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One Response to Life After a Collaborative Divorce: A Client’s Experience

  1. Carl Arnold says:

    What a touching and heartfelt reflection on the divorce process after having moved on and had time to develop perspective and insight into the experience.

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