The Russian film Loveless, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, is an intense, provocative drama that can be viewed on many levels.    It is a comment on what happens when a marriage breaks down as well as a critique of modern Russian society.  Continue Reading

How can words or minor interpersonal tensions lead to major trauma and in some cases national trauma?  As a conflict professional, I am constantly intrigued by the power of words, actions and inaction. An act or expression may or may not be intended to cause harm.  Even in a close-knit family, we sometimes do not realize the harm.  Once an initial event happens, how do we avoid escalating the harm?  Continue Reading

Last week a ‘talking stick’ reportedly broke the stalemate over the government shutdown.  Just what is a talking stick and how can it be used as a means of working through impasse in a negotiation? Continue Reading

Does Blame help reach a result in the negotiation process?  In my opinion, it is counter-productive.  This week we saw a lot of blame coming out of Washington D.C., in a negotiation without resolution and an eventual shut down.  This led me to think about my own work and what happens when blame is assigned and then continues as the focus.  During a negotiation, the parties do need to take responsibility for their own actions.  This can be done in a productive way without shaming or humiliating the other party. There is a distinction between assigning and taking responsibility and what happens when the parties stay at the level of blame.  Continue Reading

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.  Continue Reading

A benefit of using collaborative law for separation and divorce is that the parties can work together with a team of professionals to create a situation that works for everyone, including the children. Collaborative law allows attorneys and other neutral professionals help develop creative and practical solutions with a focus on the unique needs of each family. When there are children involved, decision-making and parenting access schedules can easily become positional discussions out of fear of loss or anger.  That being said, most couples are eager to make their own decisions rather than have a third party decide the family’s fate. Most parents want to find a way to work together on a parenting plan that prioritizes what works best for the whole family. Continue Reading

Taking trips with the family post-divorce should continue to be a fun, memorable experience regardless if it’s a day trip or longer.  Moving forward, most families benefit when the parents work out a concrete plan for how vacation time will be spent with the children. This helps to create stability and certainty in making vacation and travel plans and in the children’s lives.  Continue Reading

Entering into a negotiation with uncertainty is not necessarily a bad thing.  Thinking that we know all of the answers before a negotiation starts can lead to less flexible, positional thinking.  A reasonable agreement in divorce is different for each family.  For that reason, we can enter into the negotiation with uncertainty about what is best for one particular family so long as we are flexible in considering available options and work in good faith to find the most reasonable solution.   Some individuals chose to stay in limbo due to uncertainty about outcome.  The uncertainty can lead to fear – that may prohibit productive thinking. Continue Reading

When creating a parenting plan, the goal is for both parents to maintain a meaningful relationship with the children unless special circumstances exist.   How can parents develop a viable “50/50” parenting plan? What does equal parenting mean in a “50/50” case? Continue Reading

Social media is all around us. In today’s world, around-the-clock accessibility through social media has become the norm. It seems as if everyone is constantly updating their status or tagging their pictures so that we know exactly where they are and what they are doing. Couples are realizing that updates on an individual’s whereabouts and thought on social media can affect their family. Continue Reading