Blaire Conley was completely shell-shocked when she arrived at my office for her initial consultation. A career woman, she had spent her marriage juggling the demands of her family with those of her job in medical sales. After 30 years of marriage, on the heels of settling her youngest child at college and blithely anticipating her upcoming early retirement, her husband unexpectedly declared that he wanted a divorce.
When we initially met, she seemed numb and unsure of how to proceed.
As I do during all of my divorce consultations, I explained the different process options for her divorce, from her negotiating directly with her husband and filing all the paperwork without an attorney, to full-blown, knock-‘em-out, drag-‘em-down litigation, and everything in between. My passion is for the collaborative practice option, because I love how much the clients learn during the process, about each other, as well as about communicating, about problem solving, and about co-parenting into the future. So, I’m aware that my passion shines through during every consultation, and I encouraged her to explore all of her choices before deciding what was right for her and her family.
These were likely to be some of the most trying days of her life, and she would be required to make some of the most difficult choices ever. No one experiencing such grief should rush to any important decisions. I was tickled, after we ultimately finished her divorce, when I discovered that Blair had left me a flattering review on AVVO.com about that initial consultation. This was some valuable feedback:
When I first met with Joryn (before even hiring her), she was exceptionally kind, compassionate and concerned. Joryn was adamant that I do my homework and assess other lawyers before hiring her. I respected that advice immensely.
Ultimately, after Blair did her “homework,” i.e. interviewed other attorneys, she retained me, and then she and her husband did opt to participate in a collaborative divorce. Blaire’s husband retained another collaborative attorney from a list of several whom I had recommended (to Blair) as lawyers focused on what’s best for their clients.
Collaborative divorce was a concept that was new to them both, as it is to many of my clients. Blair explains how the process works:
With this approach, Joryn created a team of professionals which best fit our circumstances. In particular, our Financial Neutral advocate and Mental Health therapist were equally phenomenal and pivotal in navigating the divorce procedures. It was an excellent team approach. Surprisingly, the team met only twice before our divorce was finalized. One of the key features of this process was the subtle (and not so subtle) negotiation that took place between parties.
Ultimately, Blair and her husband did reach a resolution that included a continuing constructive relationship post-divorce.
I believe my former husband and I cultivated an amicable relationship and reached a positive outcome (amidst the heart-wrenching divorce), largely due to the collaborative efforts of our team. I am grateful to them all.
Blaire says it better than I can. What I can say is that collaborative divorce is a kindler, gentler alternative to litigation. Rather than waging war against your spouse, the professionals work with the parties, in a team setting, to reach an amicable resolution that is in the best interests of all involved.
If you are ready to proceed with your divorce but don’t want to destroy your already fragile relationship with your spouse, don’t wait to contact a collaborative professional near you today.
*All names have been changed for privacy
Open Palm Law, Win-Win Solutions by Joryn Jenkins
3839 W Kennedy Blvd. | Tampa, FL 33609