We periodically feature our members (Fellows) so that you can learn more about them, Collaborative divorce, and our organization.
Where do you practice Collaborative Divorce (i.e. in what geographical area)?
Primarily in Kane, Kendall, and DeKalb Counties, but with the option of Zoom I can participate in Collaborative cases in any county, and I am happy to do so. I also travel for Collaborative cases for in-person meetings, because I believe so strongly in the process, and think that it is a much better option for people who need to transition their family from one home to two homes.
What drew you to become a Collaborative Divorce Professional?
As an attorney who has practiced now almost 35 years, I knew that there had to be a better option to help families transition from one unhappy home to two happy homes other than what the traditional court system seemed to offer. I have always loved mediation and helping parents reach a mutual agreement that is best for their children, and then I discovered Collaborative Divorce in 2017. I knew from my first day of collaborative training that I wanted to use the Collaborative Divorce process to help my clients resolve their family legal matters in a respectful and future focused manner, and to create two homes without destroying each other and their family along the way. I look forward to practicing Collaborative Divorce until I retire.
What do you find rewarding about practicing Collaborative Divorce?
There are many rewarding aspects to practicing Collaborative Divorce, but I love being able to use my creativity to help families transition forward to their new “normal”, reaching unique solutions that will last, and making sure that all voices, interests, concerns, needs, and priorities are heard along the way, and in a respectful manner. When there is a commitment to respect in the process (which is fundamental to collaborative), discussions are more productive, allowing more creative options to be discussed, and agreements more readily reached. Furthermore, these types of agreements, and the process itself, enable the parents to resolve future issues that may arise. Especially when children are involved, I enjoy helping parents and children maintain family bonds while embracing their new lives moving forward.
What makes Collaborative Divorce a better choice than litigation?
The key difference between Collaborative Practice and conventional divorce is the pledge by the parties and professionals to reach an agreement without going to court, by respectfully resolving disputes. In the traditional divorce model, you and your spouse may come to see each other as adversaries and the divorce as a battleground. Whereas in the collaborative process, you and your spouse consent in writing to be part of a team that works together to reach an out-of-court resolution, as individual and unique as you are, and what is best for your family. In other words, you make the decisions yourselves, rather than give that responsibility to a judge. With Collaborative Divorce, the goal is to develop good communication, effective relationships, to solve problems jointly, to prevent a court battle, and to reach a future focused resolution that will last and serve your family well as time moves on.
Tell us something interesting about you.
While practicing law full time, I was also the music teacher at St. Mary’s School in DeKalb for 10 years, and I continue to serve as the Youth Choir Director at St. Mary’s Parish (and I have been teaching virtually since the pandemic, which is very challenging and requires lots of creativity!). I love bridging my background in finance and attention to detail skills with my love of music. Music fills my creativity cup, which makes me a better lawyer, and allows me to offer creative solutions to my clients unique situations.