October 27, 2014

Part III – The Power of Neutrality in the Collaborative Model

186820735In Part I we learned that advocacy in the “rights-based” Court Model is hard on the people involved because by focusing on the 3rd-party decision maker, e.g., the judge, the parties care little about each other’s view.  As a result, their relationship can become more adversarial.  In Part II we learned that by removing the decision maker in the “interest-based” Collaborative Model the parties become the decision makers who resolve mutual problems based on their defined future needs, interests, and goals.  But is the removal of the 3rd party decision maker enough to create a process that is truly “soft” on the people?

Most people who have gone through a divorce agree that divorce is much more than a legal event.  More importantly divorce is about changing relationships, improving communication, establishing co-parenting, engaging in problem-solving, and securing a stable financial future.  But many divorce processes do not adequately address these more important concerns, thus limiting divorce to simply a legal commodity.

To gain the added value of improving your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, of becoming successful co-parents, of mutually planning for the future, and of customizing your financial arrangement to meet the needs of all family members within the resources available, requires the assistance and expertise of NEUTRAL professionals.   These neutral professionals include a Neutral Financial Professional, a Neutral Coach, and a Neutral Child Specialist.  This team approach is the “secret sauce” used in the Collaborative Model that can transform the experience of this life event into something constructive, affirming, and even peaceful.  Obviously, this is of great benefit to children.

Diagram - The Power of Neutrality 082814

In addition to the support and expertise provided, the neutrality of the neutral professionals balances attorney advocacy.  This permits the attorney to stay in the problem-solving and interest-based advocacy role for his or her client, while the neutral professionals hold the ground for resolution on behalf of the whole family.  This interdisciplinary, holistic approach to advocacy and expertise is what distinguishes the Collaborative Model from any other model out there.

Collaborative professionals like to say this model contributes to world peace one family at a time.  If this approach makes sense to you, tell your friends, family, and colleagues about the Collaborative Model and contribute to world peace.

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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