June 26, 2013

Dreadlocks and Divorce

Categories: Collaborative LawDivorce

Tonda with her new dreadlocks.

Well, I’m doing it. Right now. I am at the salon having my hair teased, twisted, and permed into dreadlocks.  I have been waiting a year for this, growing my hair out to six inches in length.  It was with dread and excitement that I made the appointment with the Hair Police salon.  Was this a stupid thing to do?  Does it have anything to do with the fact that I turn 60 this summer?

My husband worries that it will be bad for my business as a Collaborative Divorce attorney.  My youngest child is appalled.  My two older children say go for it.  My colleagues are vicariously fascinated.  What will my clients think?  Will they take me seriously?  Will they want me to share with them their journey through divorce?

My feelings are insignificant and yet similar to feelings my clients feel as they make the decision to end their marriage.  Many struggle with the decision for years.  It is with dread that they make the decision to start the divorce.  It will affect their spouse; it will affect their children. It will affect their family and friends.  The change will be momentous for all family members.

For some couples, they approach their divorce together; with dread but also with a promise for the future that change provides.  For other couples, one spouse feels forced to undertake the divorce journey whether they want it or not.  For this spouse the trepidation can overwhelm any hope for the future.  But as with all change, there is always hope and opportunities.  By using a collaborative process for their divorce, couples can be supported to find the hope, the opportunity and the excitement that this change offers.

For me, a change in hairdo, especially a change as strange as dreadlocks, is exciting, daring, liberating and refreshing.  Life after dreadlocks is something to look forward to.


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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