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Dedicate to Collaborate

Reflections from a peacemaking lawyer and mediator dedicated to collaborative problem-solving.
Sep
16

8 tips to make your first mediation meeting a success.

2020-09-16
Mediation, while usually far less stressful than a court case, can be a nerve-wracking process. You may have trouble controlling your emotions, you may be nervous about what the future holds, you may worry about being heard and understood. Frankly, you'll be glad once the whole thing is over. But, I promise you, it doesn't have to be a huge ordeal....
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Aug
28

Preparing for online mediation in 5 easy steps.

2020-08-28
With the COVID pandemic showing no signs of abating any time soon, it looks like we'll be continuing with virtual mediation for the foreseeable future. And this doesn't have to be a bad thing: after conducting most of my work over the last few months via Zoom, I've actually become quite the convert — it has plenty of advantages for both the mediato...
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Aug
26

The winner takes it all — why Abba has it all wrong (and why that’s great news for your divorce).

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Over the years, pop sensations Abba have given the world many gifts: guaranteed floor fillers at every wedding ever, the dulcet tones of Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia, and an excuse to wear the occasional jumpsuit (shiny Lycra completely optional). But there's one legacy I personally could have done without: The idea that, when it comes to divorce, t...
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Aug
17

How to control your emotions when going through a divorce.

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It's a cruel irony: the very time in your life when you're feeling most vulnerable is the very time you most need to keep a level head, an even temper, and a civil tongue. No, it's not going to be easy, but learning to control your emotions as you go through the divorce process is one of the very best things you can do to ensure that everything run...
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Jul
28

Embracing virtual mediation in the time of COVID (and beyond…)

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I'm going to come out and say it: virtual mediation isn't so bad. I know that, after several weeks/months of nothing but virtual meetings with everyone from your co-workers to your old college friends, we're all experiencing just a little bit of Zoom fatigue. But there are distinct advantages to moving mediation online and even before COVID-19 and ...
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Jul
14

Uncontested divorce vs. contested divorce: why they’re not so different after all.

2020-07-14
We tend to think of divorcing couples in very black and white terms. You have your amicable, uncontested divorce candidates in one corner, the at-each-other's-throats couples in another. The amicable bunch can hash things out themselves, no professional legal help required, while the others are going to have to engage their attorneys to fight to th...
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Jul
01

Managing the divorce process when the courts are (mostly) closed.

2020-07-01
Twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week, quarantined together for the foreseeable future…even the strongest of couples and the happiest of families are feeling the pressure right now. However, despite the reported rise in divorce rates in China due to COVID-19, in my practice at least, I haven't seen any evidence to show that shelter-in-place orders...
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May
01

Divorced? Here’s what you need to know about your stimulus check.

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Like most people, you probably heaved a huge sigh of relief when the government announced the first coronavirus stimulus package back in March. And with another stimulus package likely, you can breath out a little again. After all, there are very few of us who've made it through these last few months of the pandemic financially unscathed; for many,...
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Mar
16

How I’m making dispute resolution even easier

2020-03-16-2
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

2020-01-13-2
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
15

Hanlon’s razor: the brain behavior that could be the answer to a peaceful divorce.

2020-01-14-2
Ever feel like absolutely everyone is out to get you? Your new colleague is a bit short with you during your morning meeting, so you assume they don't like you very much. The woman in the grocery store almost knocks you over in her hurry to get to the checkout. What is her problem? Your kid yells at you the minute they get home from school — you ju...
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Jan
06

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

2019-12-01-2
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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Dec
01

The real reason I’m in law – and how it’s shaping what I do next.

When I first passed the bar and started working in a private firm back in 1991, my mentors pointed me in two directions: first, to juvenile delinquency court to provide indigent defense services to juveniles charged with crimes; and second, to the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program (CCVLP) to volunteer with their family law legal aid clinic. I ...
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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Dana Greyson
Hmmm. Now I'm really curious to hear what's next for you. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's awesome and you will rock at it.
Wednesday, 04 December 2019 19:46
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Nov
14

Mediation vs. arbitration: choosing the best alternative dispute resolution for your divorce.

2019-11-14-15
Like so many couples these days, you're probably shying away from settling your divorce via litigation. Maybe you don't have the heart for a public process, the finances for a court battle, or you're still hopeful that you can end things reasonably amicably. Whatever the reason, you're considering alternative methods of conflict resolution. But the...
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Nov
06

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

2019-11-06-2
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).

2019-10-06-3
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's...
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Sep
01

You’ve decided on mediation — do you still need a divorce attorney? The answer may surprise you.

2019-10-10-2
Divorce lawyers really do get a bad rap. Many folks see them as blood-thirsty demons who'll try their best to turn a squabble into a war and suck your bank account dry in the process. So if you're exploring mediation as a more peaceful way of handling your separation, it would make sense if you were a little leery of attorneys in general. But is th...
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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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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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