When my family moved from Pittsburgh to Orlando 30 years ago, I was out-of-my-mind anxious. I feared what my new life held in store for me. My mom routinely told me that we all have to “bloom where we are planted.” Being a kid, I didn’t have a choice but to move and I made the choice to blossom into my new circumstance. I took her advice and worked to make the best of the change.
No matter how much I talk to my orchid, conveying the same advice my mom gave to me, it just doesn’t buy it. This picky and splendid plant spent about 5 years just surviving along side the house under the shade of the oak. I decided to move it to a place along the fence and under the shade of the jasmine.
Miraculously, it began to form buds and I had ten glorious blooms a few months ago. We cut the shade-providing jasmine back, it got just a touch too much sun and now I’m trying to revive the plant back to its former glory.
I think we have the capacity to make bad situations better and we have the choice to see the good in every situation. I do think it natural, however, to have an easier time “blossoming” in some environments and situations than others. Just like the orchid.
When you decide to divorce, you may have a choice of the “environment” in which you are “planted.” Depending on your circumstances and the relationship you have with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, a fantastic alternative to litigated divorce exists: collaborative divorce.
Collaborative divorce is a non-litigated settlement process in which the spouses, lawyers, a neutral mental health professional, and a neutral financial professional work together to reach an interest-based settlement. The lawyers advocate for their clients, but do so in a constructive, civilized manner.
Everyone involved in the process must abide by a contract which outlines behavior and communication.
My experience is that those who decide to “plant” themselves in this process have the opportunity for personal growth, and yes, “blooming.” Unlike litigated divorce, collaborative divorce gives spouses the opportunity to work toward a settlement, not talking through their lawyers, but talking to each other.
Extra-legal issues – those “human issues” that are so often dismissed in a litigated case – have the space to be expressed. More often than not it is these very human issues that are the stumbling block to resolution. This process gives those issues room to be heard, so that all involved may have a deeper understanding of the interests of each spouse. It can be quite enlightening for all involved.
In the two divorce cases I just finished, I have seen the overwhelming benefits of committing to this process. My clients, both women, have come out on the other side smiling. Where once there was uncertainty and trepidation, now lies confidence and hope. I happen to adore these women and it gladdens my heart to see them doing so well after reaching a settlement.
I know these women will continue to blossom and look back on the experience favorably. Neither experience was simple, or without tears, or without strong emotions, but through the commitment of themselves, their spouse and the team, we reached resolution together.
If you are interested in having the possibility of a friendship – especially if you and your spouse have children together – I enthusiastically recommend collaborative divorce. At our Winter Garden Family Law office, A.J. and I are not only both trained in the collaborative divorce process, but also hold Master of Laws degrees (“LL.M.”) from the number one ranked dispute resolution program in the country, The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine School of Law. We feel blessed to offer this service to our clients and look forward to helping you.
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