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Dedicate to Collaborate

Reflections from a peacemaking lawyer and mediator dedicated to collaborative problem-solving.
Apr
05

Problem-Solving Tips for Couples Struggling during Corona

To say tensions are high right now is a huge understatement — the world's in a pandemic, people are panicking, and the market is all over the place. On the micro level, all these challenges turn up the volume on pre-existing issues in people's lives, especially conflicts. Take relationship issues for instance. Things that might have been problemati...
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Mar
16

How I’m making dispute resolution even easier

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I've always had a passion for access to justice –– a fundamental tenet of the work I do is that everyone should be able to get the legal help they need, no matter who they are, or what's going on for them. Above all, it matters to me that my practice is "human-friendly," by which I mean, it needs to work with your life, not the other way around. An...
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Jan
28

The two big mistakes people make in trying to get at the "truth" of a conflict

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Imagine that you're overseeing a mediation between a couple who's getting a divorce. One person tells a story of being abandoned, painting a picture where their spouse is never there for them, behaves irresponsibly, and has clearly demonstrated that they don't want to be in the marriage any more. The other spouse looks at them like they're crazy, a...
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Jan
06

The brain behavior that could be controlling your divorce: reactive devaluation.

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Would you support a drastic bilateral nuclear arms reduction program? That was the question posed to pedestrians in the US back in the 1980s. The results were fascinating — and go a long way towards explaining why achieving a peaceful divorce settlement can be so very difficult. A certain number of those surveyed were told the proposal for the prog...
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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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Recent comment in this post
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's...
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Jul
23

Custody and the court system: why it might not be the solution you're looking for.

When it comes to divorce and relationship breakdown, for every person desperate to avoid the courtroom, there's another who thinks that court is the only solution. As soon as they realize that a separation is on the cards they start to draw battle lines. They begin lining up their evidence in an attempt to "prove" that their spouse or co-parent is ...
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Jul
05

Co-parenting problem-solving: 7 questions to ask yourself when emotions are running high.

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From the minute that blue line appears on the pregnancy test you find yourself thrown into a world of never-ending decisions. Some may be less significant (which range of prenatal vitamin should you choose?), and some may be life-changing (should baby be brought up with Mom's religious beliefs or Dad's?) but while you're going through them, they ca...
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May
22

How to use mediation techniques to build a positive co-parenting relationship after divorce

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How to use mediation techniques to build a positive co-parenting relationship after divorce After a contentious divorce, your ex is the last person you want to talk to — you'd probably be happy to avoid them forever more. But, if you have children together, you're stuck with each other for the foreseeable future, divorce settlement or not. So how d...
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May
13

How to know when it's the right time to call in a mediator

How to know when it's time to call in a mediator. No one ever calls an attorney unless they really have to. After all, the whole process can be a little scary, if you've never worked with one before, so it makes sense that they're the absolute last resort if you're having relationship troubles — only to be called upon once you're past the point of ...
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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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Oct
19

A Few Things I’ve Learned Along The Way…

A Few Things I’ve Learned Along The Way…
Today I celebrate 25 years as a lawyer. Holy smokes it's been quite a ride. When I first started practicing law, I was 27 years old. I was the fourth woman lawyer ever hired in a mid-sized law 'cowboy' law firm whose motto was "shoot first, ask questions later." Litigation was the default problem-solving tool, and I earned my chops in the cour...
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