Don’t Be a Pelican!

Collaborative Divorce isn’t just a process; it’s a vocation.


collaborative divorce vacationI recently escaped for ten days to the Virgin Islands to take a breath, to re-examine my role in the collaborative process, and to assess whether I am doing all that I can to move the process into the mainstream. Ten days without shoes, without my computer, without all the hustle and bustle. Ten days slipping into the island persona, talking to people who approach life with a little less angst than we do on the mainland, maybe putting on someone else’s shoes.

I chatted with islanders, of course, but I also talked to visitors from all over the world. Not one person had heard of the collaborative divorce process, though two lawyers with whom I spoke assured me that they would be back in touch! So, why doesn’t everyone know about this amazing process? What more can we, as collaborative professionals, do to bring this process to the public? And not just in this country, but worldwide?

pelican collaborative divorceAs I pondered these questions from my peaceful resort, I saw something I’d never seen before: birds that fly through water. I’m not kidding. Unlike the pelicans I’m used to in my native Florida, who dive bomb the water from great heights and pop back to the surface with a big fish clasped in their immense beaks, these fish skim the surface until they see what they want. Then they fly through the water to pop back up a few feet later, still flying, with their quarry struggling in their grip. What are these birds?

As I soaked up the sun and watched these delightful creatures, I couldn’t help but think about how these birds seemed to have found a better way to hunt than pelicans. If shown this approach, could the pelicans adapt and learn to fish more effectively? Or are they just not built for success in what I perceive as a better process? Is that why some people just can’t grasp the benefits of the collaborative divorce process? Are they just not built to find success in such a different approach, even it has more benefits than litigation?

So how do we reach more litigators? It’s true that some professionals are just not cut out for collaboration, and there is a need for some litigators. However, many litigators around the world just aren’t aware of the collaborative divorce process. If given the choice, would these professionals choose this more peaceful, holistic process? I think many would. Collaborative divorce professionals must spread the word wherever they go, whether it is at the grocery store down the street, or on vacation on the other side of the world. The more we inform others about the process, the greater number of people who will seek out collaborative trainings and tell their counterparts about this positive option. And the more collaborative professionals, the more people there are to share this process with the public. We can make a difference, and share the collaborative practice with the world.

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