Many, if not most, of the clients seen by a family law attorney manifest a high degree of anxiety. This anxiety (which can present in a variety of ways) can interfere with the attorney’s ability to concentrate on the legal aspects of the case. When the mental health aspects are severe, the attorney will refer the client to a mental health therapist. Sometimes, however, all the client needs is a guide to assist through the emotional aspects of the marital dissolution. Enter Collaborative divorce and its innovative use of mental health coaches. The purpose of this article is to give…

The Unique Complexity Of Working With Divorcing Clients: Emotions On The Edge

When clients seek out the help of the Collaborative team, it is at a time of deep emotional trouble, a time when most feel they have lost their center of gravity. As such, working with divorcing people presents numerous challenges to the team. In a large part, these challenges are the result of the clients’ needs to spend significant amounts of total talking time centered on their personal problems. According to Doane and Cowan, Interpersonal Help-Giving of Family Practice Lawyers, in the American Journal of Community Psychology, 1981, clients can spend nearly 40 percent of their time focusing only on…

As Collaborative practitioners, we must continue our responsibility to our clients and help them find the post-divorce solutions that work for them. Continuity of services for our clients will make the difference between successful divorce recovery and recovery that falters or, worse, fails. As Collaborative practitioners we cannot limit ourselves to the divorce process alone. We must help prepare the newly divorced for their lives as single people.

Extending the Collaborative Process to Encompass Post-Divorce Support

Collaborative law is a system that recognizes and addresses not only a couple’s legal needs but also the special needs and interests of children as well as promotes healthy relationships between the…


When I was going through my divorce, my Dad, a corporate attorney, told me the following; “Everybody wins and everybody loses.” At the time, I was too caught up in the war to be able to grasp the meaning of that wisdom. Like me, most people going through a legal divorce become so intent on “winning” that they lose sight of how to most effectively “play the game.”

Remember the simple advice that we all grew up with; “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game?” …

Let’s talk money — a core concern of any divorce experience. Most of us tend to think about money in terms of dollars and cents; about making the “right” financial choices. Money, however, is a much more complex part of our lives. Money has the capacity to trigger powerful subjective emotions in everyone. It symbolizes very different things to different people. Our feelings about money and how to manage it are largely dependent on our own unique family history.

In an earlier newsletter, I spoke of the goals of divorce as twofold; severing both the legal bonds and the emotional…

It used to be that work took place in the office from nine to five. Outside those hours, your time was your own — for relationships, family, relaxation, and play.

Oh, how the times have changed.

The proliferation of technology into every aspect of our lives and, most recently, the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid 19) have made working from home (telecommuting ) a much more common practice.

Telecommuting and the Work-Life Balance: Pros and Cons

One of the casualties of this new world of telecommuting is that the lines between work and personal life, which are interdependent and continuously…

Redefining Collaborative Divorce:
Is There More We Can Do To Help Our Clients Grow and Heal?

Many of us try to resolve relationship conflicts by demanding an overhaul of our partners. Why? Often, we define the problem in terms of the other person: “I have problems because of you and the way you are,” we are inclined to tell them.

Many years of couples’ and individual counseling have convinced me that defining partnership problems in terms of our partner’s character flaws and implying that he / she is inadequate and needs help will exacerbate the conflict.

Typically, I define couples’ problems in terms of the differences between them rather than the defects in either partner. A…

The internet was burning up last week with the announcement of billionaire and CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos’ divorce from his wife MacKenzie Bezos.

As someone who has experienced divorce first hand and written about it extensively, I couldn’t help wondering whether divorce is different for people who are super rich.

Divorce: A Two-Part Process

Divorce is complicated.

Typically, most people think of divorce in legal terms, or as statues of law. Assets are divided, and if children (and yes animals) are involved, custody and visitation rights are decided. I refer to this as the legal divorce.

In addition to…

In most divorce situations, one person wants out of the marriage while the other doesn’t. Even in cases where a couple mutually agrees to a divorce, there is usually one person wants to hold on to the marriage more than the other one does.

Is it more difficult for the person left because they were blindsided and their world fell apart unexpectedly? Or, is it harder on the person leaving because they feel guilty about being the “bad guy” and having to hurt their partner? It is difficult for both of them.

The Dumper

While it may sound nonsensical to…

Attachment is part of the human condition.

When you were happily attached to your partner, you felt secure

Unfortunately, you may not have learned how to let go in the same way you learned to attach. So, when loss happens, you may not know how to deal with it.

Why is breaking up so hard to do?

Below are the two primary factors that cause you to hold on when you should let go.

Loss and the Mourning After

One of the greatest fears about ending a relationship is that you will have to experience feelings that may overwhelm you…

Dr. Deborah Hecker

Relationship Therapist —

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