I have been practicing Family Law for over 42 years. After witnessing some particularly tragic experiences in family court, I began practicing Collaborative Law. However, although I always lead with Collaborative Process, I have continued to represent divorcing spouses pursuing the litigation route.
At this point in my life, I want to engage only in work I enjoy. So from this point forward I will only be accepting Courtless and Collaborative Divorce cases. I will be referring all cases involving litigation to colleagues. This is a big shift for my practice and for me personally.
This change will allow me to dedicate more time to my three passions:
- Helping families through mediation and Collaborative Practice;
- Raising awareness about Collaborative and helping my fellow Collaborative Professionals expand their own practices; and
- Spending time with my own family.
Why is Courtless Divorce better?
The courtroom is no place for a family. Busy judges do not have time to understand the unique needs of the individuals and families going through a divorce—they must base their decisions on the black-and-white requirements of The Law, which should be the last resort for anyone who considers him or herself unique.
The Collaborative Divorce process (involving two attorneys and, usually, a financial neutral and a facilitator) is a creative alternative dispute resolution process that goes far beyond the requirements of the law—it allows for all parties involved to “win” in the truest sense of the word.
But Collaborative Divorce is not the only courtless divorce process—there are actually seven different types of courtless divorce that you can read about here. Whether you choose the Collaborative Process or Mediation or some other courtless approach, I can help.
Spreading the Word about Collaborative Process
Global Collaborative Law Council (GCLC)
In August, I presented in Lincoln, Nebraska at the annual conference of Global Collaborative Law Council (GCLC). GCLC is an international association of lawyers from all areas of practice—not just family law. My presentation was on the application of collaborative dispute resolution to Stressful Life Events. It is through Collaborative Life Planning that couples can plan for events that may otherwise lead to divorce.
GCLC members include attorneys of all kinds: business, estate planning and probate, employment and so on. It was very exciting to network and learn from professionals from diverse areas of practice.
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)
At the end of October, I will be giving two presentations at the annual international forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). The first presentation will cover two topics: the how-to’s of writing a book and using visuals, like posters, to explain collaborative practice to potential clients.
The second presentation will address utilizing public relations and events to expand Collaborative Practice.
Family and being a Grandmother
There is nothing quite like turning 65 to put life in perspective. While I honestly don’t know if I will ever stop working (because I really truly love what I do), I have found that I have an increasing urge to spend time with family. Check out these pictures taken on my last visit with my grandson. 🙂
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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 in the United States Supreme Court 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.