I have a desk calendar on my office desk, which was once owned by my paternal grandfather. My grandfather died in 1952, at age 58, one year before I was born. I am named after my grandfather; his name was Maury White; and that is my name too. My father is still alive and healthy at age 87; he gave me my desk. The calendar is about four inches wide, half an inch thick and it is a plastic model of Earth, with a front and a back. It works by tipping the top back and the next number for the next calendar day appears right side up. It is not automatic and it requires me to remember to flip it over at either the end or the beginning of each day. Each month, in between the markers for the 31st and the 1st two separate messages appear before the counting begins anew. The first reads, “Time is Treasure-spend it wisely.” The next message appears with another flip of the globe, and it reads, “Time makes all things clear.”
At a minimum, once every month, as I sit at my desk, I am reminded about time; its special qualities and its role in our lives. I have made a conscious decision about how I wish to spend my time at work by choosing to offer only mediation and Collaborative Law to help individuals and families who are facing change in their worlds. For many years family law litigation was the only process I knew about for separating and divorcing couples. Now there is another choice, and we have had more than 10 years of practical experience helping couples make conscious choices in a collaborative process which is uniquely suited to allow each couple to control how they are going to spend their time in the actual divorce process; and, more importantly, how to control their own personal time and their children’s time after the divorce is completed.
The Collaborative Process is a methodology designed to first identify what is most important to separating couples, for example…financial security, stability for the children, fair treatment. By signing a Collaborative Participation Agreement a couple can say no to court proceedings, and hire legal counsel, mental health professionals and financial specialists trained to work together for a shared outcome that is acceptable to both husband and wife. Time working through all of the issues will be spent sharing information, developing options, considering consequences, all in ways which are relevant to the couples’ particular circumstances. The safety is in the mutually agreed upon contractual process and the couples’ decision to limit the role of their lawyers to negotiation and settlement; not litigation.
It sounds too good to be true for some; and some have failed, leaving only the court option. However, if time is spent wisely researching and selecting the properly trained and experienced Collaborative lawyer; and time is spent wisely in a Collaborative Process…in a shorter, rather than longer period of time, it will be abundantly clear that a decision based upon hope and transparency will provide a stronger foundation for the future than decisions otherwise based upon fear and intimidation. It is possible to make decision after decision to spend your time wisely, for in the end that is all we have, besides our good names.