May 14, 2013

A Tableau of (mis)Fortunes

Categories: Collaborative LawDivorce
Photo by Scott Liddell

Photo by Scott Liddell

Statistics indicate that, in the US, over 1 million families will under go the stress of divorce and for many of those, this emotional process will lead down the path of formulaic, disabling conflict where the entire history of their relationship will be treated as (as Voltaire described it) “a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.”

Admittedly, hiring proxies to fight the battle and to abdicate decision-making to a third party is to follow a path of least resistance; after all, in times of stress (and divorce, even amicable divorce, is a time of stress) the rational, thinking part of our brain tends to take a back seat to the more emotional, primitive parts and it seems far simpler to leave the heavy lifting to someone else. But the problem with this approach to divorce is that the entire process is designed to tear apart; to reduce a family into the somewhat overlapping components of 2 ex-spouses, a single mom, a single dad, their children.

Now, what if we were to turn the idea of conflict on it’s head; to treat the history of a relationship as a tableau of deeds and fortunes and to build for the future rather than simply resolving the past? Wouldn’t that be a powerful, enabling gift for a family?

Now, this divergent road is not an easy one – it requires muzzling one’s amygdalae for starters, and it requires that we leave the role of antagonist behind and become synergists so that we may enable a future filled with interlocking, collaborating relationships (co-parents, their children, remarriages, etc).

Synergy does not come in a vacuum. It requires addressing not just the legal aspects of divorce, but the emotional, financial, and relational issues as well. It comes from team work and the knowledge that however difficult this transition is, it simple marks the segue to a new scene . It comes from a Collaborative Divorce.

Bruce Cameron
Attorney, Cameron Law, PLLC

Bruce Cameron, JD, MS is a second career attorney, practicing Quaker, and advocate for small town law practices. His solo practice focuses exclusively on collaborative law and mediation with just a soupçon of estate planning for excitement. Bruce believes that alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, like collaborative law and mediation, are powerful positive means to reduce the destructive conflict typical of litigation. He has found that a little peacemaking tends to produce better outcomes for his clients. Learn more at

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