Dedicate to Collaborate

Reflections from a peacemaking lawyer and mediator dedicated to collaborative problem-solving.
Nov
06

Returning the favor: why reciprocation bias is making your divorce harder than it needs to be.

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Think about a time when a friend invited you to dinner or offered you a ride you felt an intense desire to cook for them next time, or to return the favor in some way, didn't you? And sure, you assumed that was simply because you've been brought up that way, or because you think it's nice to be nice, but actually there's a really powerful psycholog...
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Oct
06

Cognitive Dissonance (or how Ben Franklin can help settle your divorce).

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Have you heard of the Ben Franklin effect? Benjamin Franklin, the scientist and politician, had a bitter rival. But when he discovered that his rival owned a rare book that Franklin needed, he swallowed his pride and asked to borrow the book. The rival obliged and Franklin returned the book the following week, along with a thank you note. To Frankl...
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Mikalea Bolds
Love this - really has me thinking...
Monday, 07 October 2019 14:33
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Sep
08

The brain behaviors controlling your divorce: confirmation bias.

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"He just said what ?" When conflicts arise it feels like logic and rationality are the first things we toss aside. We end up saying and doing things that feel completely out of character and reacting in ways that even we can't understand. The inevitable outcome is, of course, heightened tension and petty arguments that become all-out war. But here'...
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Apr
01

The 5 biggest mistakes people make in custody cases

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Your children are incredible; there isn't a thing you wouldn't do for them. The thought of someone — a stranger — telling you when, where, and how often you can spend time with them is more than you can stand…which is why you're prepared to fight tooth and claw for them. When you're faced with a custody battle, fear, anger, and strong emotion take ...
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Mar
06

How to talk to your children about divorce

How to talk to your children about divorce
Whether they have the memory of an elephant or a fruit fly, there is one moment I guarantee your children are likely to remember for years to come: the divorce talk. That's a lot of pressure to handle, especially when you're going through your own emotional turmoil. So the first thing I want to do is reassure you that "the talk" absolutely doesn't ...
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Jan
23

7 Strategies for a Smoother Divorce

7 Strategies for a Smoother Divorce
Out with the old, in with the new?  This season is the perfect storm when it comes to divorce: holiday stress, financial strain, lots of time spent with the in-laws, all closely followed by the inevitable desire for New Year renewal. We're all looking for things to give up; not-so-great habits, not-so-great attitudes, and apparently, not-so-gr...
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Dec
12

The Most Important (And Often-Overlooked) Tool for Conflict Resolution

The Most Important (And Often-Overlooked) Tool for Conflict Resolution
Isn't it frustrating when someone just won't listen to you? You've begged, reasoned, pleaded and things still aren't getting done the way you want them. You're the only one pulling your weight and you've had enough. So you call on a mediator.  A quick fix? ​ ​ The relief is immediate — finally you'll get things sorted. After months (or years!)...
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Nov
28

The Most Important “Language” You Can Speak This Holiday Season

The Most Important “Language” You Can Speak This Holiday Season
There's nothing quite like the moment where a perfectly lovely family dinner takes a turn for the tense. Whether it's a political disagreement, old hurts resurfacing, or just the very logical result of a bunch of tired, stressed people getting up close and personal, it's never fun to have the conversation devolve. Depending on how your family deals...
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Nov
14

Why is everyone talking about mediation?

Why is everyone talking about mediation?
All hail the Internet! Thanks to the power of Google we all have instant access to the kind of legal information that was previously only dished out directly by our attorney. With a few clicks of a button you discover that an expensive lawsuit and a bitter court battle is not the only path to conflict resolution. You quickly learn it's not even the...
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Oct
31

Why it’s so important to get mediation sooner rather than later.

Why it’s so important to get mediation sooner rather than later.
Court battles: people yelling, reputations destroyed, astronomical fees, anger, and bitterness. And when a dispute ends up in the courtroom, no one really "wins". Not even the lawyers. After all, even when a client gets the result they want, it will have come at a huge cost — it's not exactly a process that encourages repeat business. There's no de...
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Oct
03

Power dynamics at play: how to resolve financial conflicts in a peaceful way.

Power dynamics at play: how to resolve financial conflicts in a peaceful way.
You know what it's like when you're newly in love: you feel like you would do absolutely anything for your partner. What does it matter if you're a high flyer and he's earning peanuts? Love means unconditional support, right? Right! At least for a while. Then life gets in the way; love can fade and responsibilities tend to grow. Suddenly that discr...
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Sep
18

What Do You Really Get Out of Mediation?

What Do You Really Get Out of Mediation?
If you've never been to mediation, you might not be totally sure what you actually get out of the whole process. For instance, is it just someone to scribe your agreements? Is it just a conversation? What do you actually get out of the whole process? There's so much more to mediation –– and many of the "end products" that mediators can provide actu...
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Guest — RIdley
It's good to know what actually happens at mediation. I like how you said that there are a lot of end products that mediation can ... Read More
Friday, 16 November 2018 13:17
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Sep
05

The one workshop that changed everything for me. (Plus I’m in a book!)

The one workshop that changed everything for me. (Plus I’m in a book!)
In 2015, I was at a crossroads. I had been practicing law for 23 years and for the last ten, I had been straddling the line between a traditional and a collaborative practice. The time I spent going to court, leading my clients into what I knew would be a devastating experience for them, was taking a toll on me as well as them.  I no longer ha...
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Recent Comments
Guest — Karen Olson
Congratulations Nancy! You are an inspiration!
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 21:04
Guest — Nancy Retsinas
Oh Karen, thank you! I am so inspired by this work and am motivated to spread the word. So many people can benefit from a differen... Read More
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 22:39
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Aug
08

Six questions to ask yourself to keep a difficult conversation on track

Six questions to ask yourself to keep a difficult conversation on track
"We need to talk." These may be the four most feared words in the English language. Because as we all know from experience, what happens next is usually pretty ugly. You know how it goes: Say you've got a big deadline at work. On Monday, you asked your partner for help cleaning up this week. On Thursday, you come home late and tired to three days w...
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Jul
25

What’s the difference between a disagreement and a conflict and a dispute? (Hint: just knowing this one thing can help you solve some seriously stubborn problems.)

What’s the difference between a disagreement and a conflict and a dispute? (Hint: just knowing this one thing can help you solve some seriously stubborn problems.)
You'd think that when it comes down to it, a fight is a fight is a fight. No matter what you call it, you've still got two sides trying to get their needs met, two people not getting what they want, and one big problem to be solved, right? Actually ... wrong. A disagreement is different from a conflict, which is again different from a dispute – ​ a...
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Jul
11

6 Ground Rules for Resolving Disputes

6 Ground Rules for Resolving Disputes
Imagine for a minute that it's 200 years ago. We have the medical technology to do surgery, and survival rates are OK. But surgery always involves a great deal of violence to the body. A simple thing like removing an inflamed appendix might mean that you have to open up a person's abdomen entirely, rather than making the tiny incision required toda...
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