Collaborative divorce offers families the opportunity to work with a team of professionals to negotiate a resolution that meets the highest goals and interests of the entire family.
The only constant in life is that there will always be change. Good times will transform into not-so-good times. Bad times will get better. Life is a roller coaster ride, which is really a blessing, because without the dips, we wouldn’t appreciate the highs nearly as much as we do.
While some adapt well to change, others face it kicking and screaming. Take me for example. Even in the midst of a positive change, I find myself struggling until my new normal actually feels normal. I recently moved into a new home, definitely an upgrade from the old house, but for the first month, I was an emotional mess, trying to adjust to the newness of my abode. Until every picture was hung and the right spot was found for each belonging, I simply could not relax. Meanwhile, my husband, who thrives on change and new adventures, was glowing with the excitement and pride of having a new home. I found myself envying his easy-going nature and adaptability. I strive to not fear change so much because it often leads to better experiences, or at least to learning experiences that help me grow as a person.
Positive change often happens organically and naturally, but not always.
Sometimes, positive change needs to be helped along, especially when traditional systems are entrenched. For example, for decades, litigation was the dispute resolution process of choice for family law matters. However, many felt that families don’t belong in courtrooms, and there had to be a better way. Eventually, we found that better way. Collaborative divorce offers families the opportunity to work with a team of professionals to negotiate a resolution that meets the highest goals and interests of the entire family. It is hard to argue that this method is not superior to families ripping each other apart in the courtroom. Nevertheless, collaborative divorce has taken years to catch on, and it still is not the method of choice in many communities. Why is this when it is so clearly the optimum choice for domestic dispute resolution?
It is because many people, like me, find change difficult and uncomfortable, even when we know it is for the best. So what do we do?
We need to work around the obstacle of institutionalized process and entrenched thinking by brainstorming and problem-solving, sidestepping our way around the system in place and leading the way for those who are content to follow. The obstacle is the way. By being forced to work our way around the obstacle of the court system, we can hone the collaborative process so that it is even better than when it was first conceived.
As agents of change, we have the ability to not only think differently about a problem, but the willingness to use our own resources to influence others through our ideas and to accelerate action, to accelerate change. In other words, by not playing by the bureaucratically-prescribed rules imposed by the litigation system, we are able to be more flexible, freer to move and change when confronted by obstacles.
Embrace change. Embrace the collaborative divorce process.
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About this week’s author Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.