A little known fact about me is that I am about the twenty-fifth generation and a direct descendent of Governor William Bradford who arrived here on the Mayflower in 1620. Before my marriage, my legal name was Joanne Sara Bradford Overholt and that’s the name on all my diplomas and licenses.
Being a blood relative of a real Pilgrim obviously makes me love Thanksgiving!
There is a lesson for all of us to learn from the historic tale of the Indians helping the Pilgrims survive that first New England winter. Try to imagine the fear and awe they felt when facing each other for the first time. Those pioneers relied on guides and translators to communicate, offering gifts of food and drink and strived to find common ground upon which to lay the foundation for a future and hopefully mutually beneficial relationship. Makes me think of a collaborative divorce team meeting.
Team meetings are attended by both clients, their respective collaborative counsel, their divorce coach or coaches and their financial neutral. Please imagine a well orchestrated business meeting rather than an old fashioned tense, ugly and unproductive litigation four way.
Spouses and partners rely on their collaboratively trained lawyers to guide them through the legal issues common to most divorces such as custody, parenting time, support and property division. An offering of chocolate and munchies soothes nerves and prevents sugar crashes. Divorce coaches work as “Translators” to improve communication, facilitate negotiations and build a structure for resolving future conflict.
This Thanksgiving season, I am truly grateful for having discovered collaborative divorce practice and all the benefits it has brought to my clients, my law practice and my life.
Wouldn’t the Pilgrim’s Governor be proud of this collaborative pioneer?