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Collaborative New Year's Wishes
Posted in Estate Planning

As we enter a new year, many of us will turn our attention to the relationships in our lives, bringing a renewed commitment to investing the time, attention, honesty, and love required to keep those relationships deep and strong. 

Unfortunately, however, also with each new year, a certain number of relationships will end in divorce.  In October 2011, I was privileged to be one of only two Indiana professionals to attend the 12th Annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).  The IACP is an international community of legal, mental health, and financial professionals working in concert to transform processes for resolving family conflict worldwide, by replacing adversarial posturing with respectful interest-based negotiation, replacing judge and lawyer driven procedures and outcomes with client and family driven ones, replacing destructiveness with dignity.  

I begin the new year as a collaborative family law attorney, hearing echoes of the inspiring words of the IACP Forum faculty.  Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, writer, speaker and research professor at the University of Houston, spoke of our intolerance for vulnerability - and how our aversion to feeling vulnerable severely limits our capacity for a host of other important human experiences, like love, joy, creativity, accountability, and adaptability to change.  Dan Ariely, Ph.D., Behavioral Economist and best-selling author from Duke University, spoke of our unfounded faith in our own ability to make the right decisions – that in fact, our biases, environment, and many other factors cause all of us to suffer from a great deal of irrationality, and the worse news is that we are blind to it in ourselves.  The only hope, he suggests, is to try approaches that we wouldn’t normally choose, and frequently to check out our own assumptions with others.      

This year, I will be blessed to be invited into the lives of many new clients – lovely people, who when we meet will be feeling especially irrational and vulnerable.  As I have had the opportunity to learn from renowned international scholars, I also will learn from those clients how best to walk beside them – collaboratively - as they chart their own path.  May your journey in 2012 bring you peace and joy.

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