Marjorie JamesI recently sat down to eat lunch with a co-worker at a table with three other people. One of the people seemed preoccupied and sad, and as we talked, the reason became very clear.

“Joe” and his wife divorced recently, and he had just put their daughter on a plane going to the Southern state where his ex-wife now lived. As he talked, the loss of everyday interaction with his daughter dominated his conversation.

“We set up a Skype account before we left, so we can see each other every evening.” They used to cook dinner together most nights, and he obviously was going to miss the fun. “It won’t be the same with the time difference, but we are going to try to make it work somehow,” he sighed.

Joe described the parenting plan they had worked out and made the comment that their mediator had “made all the difference” in the amount of time he would be able to spend with his daughter each year. The agreements they came up with were then taken to the attorneys so that legal documents could be drawn up. He misses his daughter, but he realizes that the mediation process worked for him, his daughter, and his ex-wife.

That is what Collaborative law is all about, finding common ground for divorcing partners so that the most equitable and positive outcome can be reached. The big difference between mediation and Collaboration is that the process is in one package. All Collaborative professionals are trained in mediation, and the attorneys on the team are also able to offer legal advice and prepare the necessary legal documents once agreement is reached. The Collaborative process, “We, not I”, works!

Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.