June 18, 2014

Minnesota: The Best Place for an Ailing Marriage: Part 1

172218935Because of our great medical facilities, people often say that Minnesota might be the best place in the world to get sick. What is less known is that Minnesota is rapidly becoming known as the best place for an ailing marriage too.  Indeed, just as people travel all over the world to come to the Mayo Clinic to heal their bodies, people from around the world occasionally travel to Minnesota to observe the ways that we heal conflict.

Last month, two family law attorneys from Cape Town, South Africa, spent most of the month of May at the Collaborative Alliance in Edina,  observing many of our Collaborative divorce professionals so that they can improve the way family conflict is handled in their country.  Two weeks earlier, a family law attorney from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, visited the Collaborative Alliance space and asked if she could also send an observer from her country in the upcoming months. Indeed, we have hosted family law professionals from five different countries and nearly every state during the past six years.

I realize that, if you have a healthy marriage, finding that Minnesota is a great place for a divorce may not be reason to jump up for joy.   No one wants to be in the position to need a divorce lawyer anymore than anyone wants to need a good oncologist.  But, if you are facing serious problems, it’s nice to know you can reach out and find some of the very best in the world.

So, why is Minnesota an international leader in handling conflict?  Is it because of our superior laws, our better courts, better law schools are lawyers?   Well, in fact, while all of those things are very good in our state, the thing that is causing people to travel to Minnesota from afar is our innovation.  Divorce causes great pain around the world and nearly everyone is desperate to find a better way.  Minnesota is, among other things, the birthplace of Collaborative Law, a method of handling divorce that has spared tens of thousands of families.  To learn more about Collaborative Practice, go to www.collaborativelaw.org.

As someone who has handled hundreds of Collaborative divorce (as well as hundreds of traditional divorces), I am not surprised that people from around the United States would want to learn about this better method.  However, I admit that I was a bit surprised to learn that about the great interest all around the world. I have had the opportunity to conduct workshops and trainings on Collaborative law throughout the world and I have observed great differences in their laws and in their cultural norms. What has surprised me is that, when it comes to basic issues, protecting children, reducing conflict, reducing costs we are all facing the same issue.  Collaborative Divorce is more effective, not because of something unique to Minnesotan or Americans, but because if makes divorce more human.  And that is a language that is understood all around the world.

Ron Ousky
Attorney, Ousky Law Firm

Ron Ousky is a Collaborative Attorney and mediator who has worked with divorcing families for thirty years and focuses on helping his clients find better outcomes through Collaborative Practice, mediation and other creative alternatives. Ron is also the co-author of The Collaborative Way to Divorce, and has trained divorce lawyers throughout North America and in Europe. He is also the co-founder of the Collaborative Alliance, an office sharing suite in Edina, that brings lawyers, mental health professionals and financial experts together to find better solutions for families. To learn more about Ron and his practice, go to www.Ousky.com

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